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A segmentation approach to long duration surface EMG recordingsThe purpose of this study was to develop an automatic segmentation method in order to identify postural surface EMG segments in long-duration recordings. Surface EMG signals were collected from the cervical erector spinae (CES), erector spinae (ES), external oblique (EO), and tibialis anterior (TA) muscles of 11 subjects using a bipolar electrode configuration. Subjects remained seated in a car seat over the 150-min data-collection period. The modified dynamic cumulative sum (MDCS) algorithm was used to automatically segment the surface EMG signals. Signals were rejected by comparison with an exponential mathematical model of the spectrum of a surface EMG signal. The average power ratio computed between two successive retained segments was used to classify segments as postural or surface EMG. The presence of a negative slope of a regression line fitted to the median frequency values of postural surface EMG segments was taken as an indication of fatigue. Alpha level was set at 0.05. The overall classification error rate was 8%, and could be performed in 25 min for a 150-min signal using a custom-built software program written in C (Borland Software Corporation, CA, USA). This error rate could be enhanced by concentrating on the rejection method, which caused most of the misclassification (6%). Furthermore, the elimination of non-postural surface EMG segments by the use of a segmentation approach enabled muscular fatigue to be identified in signals that contained no evidence of fatigue when analysed using traditional methods.