Upside Down Labs' BioAmp EMG Pill Brings Electromyography to Any 5V Microcontroller's Analog Input

Designed for any microcontroller with a 5V analog input, this stick-format board is a simple way to get started with EMG.

New Delhi-based Upside Down Labs has released the design for a compact open-source electromyography board, designed for pairing with any microcontroller that boasts an analog to digital converter (ADC): the BioAmp EMG Pill.

Electromyography (EMG), the measuring of electrical activity created by skeletal muscles, provides data of use in everything from medical diagnostics to kinesiology research — and can even be used as control signals for robotic prosthetic limbs. Upside Down Labs aims to bring those capabilities to the maker with the BioAmp EMG Pill, a simple EMG add-on for almost any microcontroller.

Measuring just 32.25x10.05mm (around 1.27x0.4in), the stick-format "Pill" board is based around Texas Instrument's TL074H quad-channel op. amp. At one end is a connector offering an analog output suitable for 5V-logic microcontrollers with an analog input, while at the other end is a connector for an EMG sensor pad to be attached to the subject's skin.

The company has tested the design with an Arduino Nano, but its simple design makes it compatible with any 5V-capable device with an ADC — though better results will come from microcontrollers with a higher-resolution analog input.

The board has been released through the Upside Down Labs GitHub repository, under the CERN Open Hardware Licence V2 Strongly Reciprocal variant.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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