Brain-computer interface (BCI) technology might be useful for rehabilitation of motor function. This speculation is based on the premise that modifying the EEG will modify behavior, a proposition for which there is limited empirical data. The present study examined the possibility that voluntary modulation of sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) can affect motor behavior in normal human subjects.
Six individuals performed a cued-reaction task with variable warning periods. A typical variable foreperiod effect was associated with SMR desynchronization. SMR features that correlated with reaction times were then used to control a two-target cursor movement BCI task. Following successful BCI training, the reaction time task was embedded within the cursor movement task.
Voluntarily increasing SMR beta rhythms was associated with longer reaction times and decreasing SMR beta rhythms with shorter reaction times.
Voluntary modulation of EEG SMR can affect motor behavior.
These results encourage studies that integrate BCI training into rehabilitation protocols and examine its capacity to augment restoration of useful motor function.
reaction time; EEG; brain-computer interface
A brain-computer interface (BCI) can be used to accomplish a task without requiring motor output. Two major control strategies used by BCIs during task completion are process control and goal selection. In process control, the user exerts continuous control and independently executes the given task. In goal selection, the user communicates their goal to the BCI and then receives assistance executing the task. A previous study has shown that goal selection is more accurate and faster in use. An unanswered question is, which control strategy is easier to learn? This study directly compares goal selection and process control while learning to use a sensorimotor rhythm based BCI. Twenty young healthy human subjects were randomly assigned either to a goal selection or a process control based paradigm for 8 sessions. At the end of the study, the best user from each paradigm completed 2 additional sessions using all paradigms randomly mixed. The results of this study were that goal selection required a shorter training period for increased speed, accuracy, and information transfer over process control. These results held for the best subjects as well as in the general subject population. The demonstrated characteristics of goal selection make it a promising option to increase the utility of BCIs intended for both disabled and able bodied users.
We present the self-paced 3-class Graz brain-computer interface (BCI) which is based on the detection of sensorimotor
electroencephalogram (EEG) rhythms induced by motor imagery. Self-paced operation means that the BCI is able to determine
whether the ongoing brain activity is intended as control signal (intentional control) or not (non-control state). The presented
system is able to automatically reduce electrooculogram (EOG) artifacts, to detect electromyographic (EMG) activity, and uses
only three bipolar EEG channels. Two applications are presented: the freeSpace virtual environment (VE) and the Brainloop
interface. The freeSpace is a computer-game-like application where subjects have to navigate through the environment and
collect coins by autonomously selecting navigation commands. Three subjects participated in these feedback experiments
and each learned to navigate through the VE and collect coins. Two out of the three succeeded in collecting all three coins. The
Brainloop interface provides an interface between the Graz-BCI and Google Earth.
The scanning protocol is a novel Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) implementation that can be controlled with sensorimotor rhythms (SMRs) of the electroencephalogram (EEG). The user views a screen that shows four choices in a linear array with one marked as target. The four choices are successively highlighted for 2.5 s each. When a target is highlighted, the user can select it by modulating the SMR. An advantage of this method is the capacity to choose among multiple choices with just one learned SMR modulation. Each of ten naive users trained for ten 30-min sessions over five weeks. User performance improved significantly (p<0.001) over the sessions and ranged from 30-80% mean accuracy of the last three sessions (chance accuracy=25%). The incidence of correct selections depended on the target position. These results suggest that, with further improvements, a scanning protocol can be effective. The ultimate goal is to expand it to a large matrix of selections.
Brain-Computer Interface; BCI; Sensorimotor Rhythm; Scanning Protocol
Films like Firefox, Surrogates, and Avatar have explored the possibilities of using brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) to control machines and replacement bodies with only thought. Real world BCIs have made great progress toward that end. Invasive BCIs have enabled monkeys to fully explore 3-dimensional (3D) space using neuroprosthetics. However, non-invasive BCIs have not been able to demonstrate such mastery of 3D space. Here, we report our work, which demonstrates that human subjects can use a non-invasive BCI to fly a virtual helicopter to any point in a 3D world. Through use of intelligent control strategies, we have facilitated the realization of controlled flight in 3D space. We accomplished this through a reductionist approach that assigns subject-specific control signals to the crucial components of 3D flight. Subject control of the helicopter was comparable when using either the BCI or a keyboard. By using intelligent control strategies, the strengths of both the user and the BCI system were leveraged and accentuated. Intelligent control strategies in BCI systems such as those presented here may prove to be the foundation for complex BCIs capable of doing more than we ever imagined.
BCI; Brain-Computer Interface; EEG; 3D
Brain–Computer Interfaces (BCIs) allow a user to control a computer application by brain activity as acquired, e.g., by EEG. One of the biggest challenges in BCI research is to understand and solve the problem of “BCI Illiteracy”, which is that BCI control does not work for a non-negligible portion of users (estimated 15 to 30%). Here, we investigate the illiteracy problem in BCI systems which are based on the modulation of sensorimotor rhythms. In this paper, a sophisticated adaptation scheme is presented which guides the user from an initial subject-independent classifier that operates on simple features to a subject-optimized state-of-the-art classifier within one session while the user interacts the whole time with the same feedback application. While initial runs use supervised adaptation methods for robust co-adaptive learning of user and machine, final runs use unsupervised adaptation and therefore provide an unbiased measure of BCI performance. Using this approach, which does not involve any offline calibration measurement, good performance was obtained by good BCI participants (also one novice) after 3–6 min of adaptation. More importantly, the use of machine learning techniques allowed users who were unable to achieve successful feedback before to gain significant control over the BCI system. In particular, one participant had no peak of the sensory motor idle rhythm in the beginning of the experiment, but could develop such peak during the course of the session (and use voluntary modulation of its amplitude to control the feedback application).
Co-adaptive learning; Brain–computer interfaces; BCI illiteracy problem
For severely paralyzed people, a brain-computer interface (BCI) provides a way of re-establishing communication. Although subjects with muscular dystrophy (MD) appear to be potential BCI users, the actual long-term effects of BCI use on brain activities in MD subjects have yet to be clarified. To investigate these effects, we followed BCI use by a chronic tetraplegic subject with MD over 5 months. The topographic changes in an electroencephalogram (EEG) after long-term use of the virtual reality (VR)-based BCI were also assessed. Our originally developed BCI system was used to classify an EEG recorded over the sensorimotor cortex in real time and estimate the user's motor intention (MI) in 3 different limb movements: feet, left hand, and right hand. An avatar in the internet-based VR was controlled in accordance with the results of the EEG classification by the BCI. The subject was trained to control his avatar via the BCI by strolling in the VR for 1 hour a day and then continued the same training twice a month at his home.
After the training, the error rate of the EEG classification decreased from 40% to 28%. The subject successfully walked around in the VR using only his MI and chatted with other users through a voice-chat function embedded in the internet-based VR. With this improvement in BCI control, event-related desynchronization (ERD) following MI was significantly enhanced (p < 0.01) for feet MI (from -29% to -55%), left-hand MI (from -23% to -42%), and right-hand MI (from -22% to -51%).
These results show that our subject with severe MD was able to learn to control his EEG signal and communicate with other users through use of VR navigation and suggest that an internet-based VR has the potential to provide paralyzed people with the opportunity for easy communication.
Patients usually require long-term training for effective EEG-based brain-computer interface (BCI) control due to fatigue caused by the demands for focused attention during prolonged BCI operation. We intended to develop a user-friendly BCI requiring minimal training and less mental load.
Testing of BCI performance was investigated in three patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and three patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), who had no previous BCI experience. All patients performed binary control of cursor movement. One ALS patient and one PLS patient performed four-directional cursor control in a two-dimensional domain under a BCI paradigm associated with human natural motor behavior using motor execution and motor imagery. Subjects practiced for 5-10 minutes and then participated in a multi-session study of either binary control or four-directional control including online BCI game over 1.5 – 2 hours in a single visit.
Event-related desynchronization and event-related synchronization in the beta band were observed in all patients during the production of voluntary movement either by motor execution or motor imagery. The online binary control of cursor movement was achieved with an average accuracy about 82.1±8.2% with motor execution and about 80% with motor imagery, whereas offline accuracy was achieved with 91.4±3.4% with motor execution and 83.3±8.9% with motor imagery after optimization. In addition, four-directional cursor control was achieved with an accuracy of 50-60% with motor execution and motor imagery.
Patients with ALS or PLS may achieve BCI control without extended training, and fatigue might be reduced during operation of a BCI associated with human natural motor behavior.
The development of a user-friendly BCI will promote practical BCI applications in paralyzed patients.
EEG; brain-computer interface (BCI); event-related desynchronization (ERD); event-related synchronization (ERS); user-friendly; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); primary lateral sclerosis (PLS); motor control
It has been suggested that Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) may one day be suitable for controlling a neuroprosthesis. For closed-loop operation of BCI, a tactile feedback channel that is compatible with neuroprosthetic applications is desired. Operation of an EEG-based BCI using only vibrotactile feedback, a commonly used method to convey haptic senses of contact and pressure, is demonstrated with a high level of accuracy.
A Mu-rhythm based BCI using a motor imagery paradigm was used to control the position of a virtual cursor. The cursor position was shown visually as well as transmitted haptically by modulating the intensity of a vibrotactile stimulus to the upper limb. A total of six subjects operated the BCI in a two-stage targeting task, receiving only vibrotactile biofeedback of performance. The location of the vibration was also systematically varied between the left and right arms to investigate location-dependent effects on performance.
Results and Conclusion
Subjects are able to control the BCI using only vibrotactile feedback with an average accuracy of 56% and as high as 72%. These accuracies are significantly higher than the 15% predicted by random chance if the subject had no voluntary control of their Mu-rhythm. The results of this study demonstrate that vibrotactile feedback is an effective biofeedback modality to operate a BCI using motor imagery. In addition, the study shows that placement of the vibrotactile stimulation on the biceps ipsilateral or contralateral to the motor imagery introduces a significant bias in the BCI accuracy. This bias is consistent with a drop in performance generated by stimulation of the contralateral limb. Users demonstrated the capability to overcome this bias with training.
People with or without motor disabilities can learn to control sensorimotor rhythms (SMR) recorded from the scalp to move a computer cursor in one or more dimensions or can use the P300 event-related potential as a control signal to make discrete selections. Data collected from individuals using an SMR-based or P300-based BCI were evaluated offline to estimate the impact on performance of continually adapting the parameters of the translation algorithm during BCI operation. The performance of the SMR-based BCI was enhanced by adaptive updating of the feature weights or adaptive normalization of the features. In contrast, P300 performance did not benefit from either of these procedures.
It is of wide interest to study the brain activity that correlates to the control of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI). In the present study, we have developed an approach to image the cortical rhythmic modulation associated with motor imagery using minimum-norm estimates in the frequency domain (MNEFD). The distribution of cortical sources of mu activity during online control of BCI was obtained with the MNEFD. Contralateral decrease (event-related desynchronization, ERD) and ipsilateral increase (event-related synchronization, ERS) are localized in the sensorimotor cortex during online control of BCI in a group of human subjects. Statistical source analysis revealed that maximum correlation with movement imagination is localized in sensorimotor cortex.
Brain-computer interface; BCI; source analysis; EEG; motor imagery; ERD; ERS
Brain computer interface (BCI) technology has been proposed for motor neurorehabilitation, motor replacement and assistive technologies. It is an open question whether proprioceptive feedback affects the regulation of brain oscillations and therefore BCI control. We developed a BCI coupled on-line with a robotic hand exoskeleton for flexing and extending the fingers. 24 healthy participants performed five different tasks of closing and opening the hand: (1) motor imagery of the hand movement without any overt movement and without feedback, (2) motor imagery with movement as online feedback (participants see and feel their hand, with the exoskeleton moving according to their brain signals, (3) passive (the orthosis passively opens and closes the hand without imagery) and (4) active (overt) movement of the hand and rest. Performance was defined as the difference in power of the sensorimotor rhythm during motor task and rest and calculated offline for different tasks. Participants were divided in three groups depending on the feedback receiving during task 2 (the other tasks were the same for all participants). Group 1 (n = 9) received contingent positive feedback (participants' sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) desynchronization was directly linked to hand orthosis movements), group 2 (n = 8) contingent “negative” feedback (participants' sensorimotor rhythm synchronization was directly linked to hand orthosis movements) and group 3 (n = 7) sham feedback (no link between brain oscillations and orthosis movements). We observed that proprioceptive feedback (feeling and seeing hand movements) improved BCI performance significantly. Furthermore, in the contingent positive group only a significant motor learning effect was observed enhancing SMR desynchronization during motor imagery without feedback in time. Furthermore, we observed a significantly stronger SMR desynchronization in the contingent positive group compared to the other groups during active and passive movements. To summarize, we demonstrated that the use of contingent positive proprioceptive feedback BCI enhanced SMR desynchronization during motor tasks.
Brain-computer interface; Magnetoencephalography; Real-time feedback; Mu rhythm; Source localization
The current study investigated the effects of psychological well-being measured as quality of life (QoL), depression, current mood and motivation on brain–computer interface (BCI) performance in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Six participants with most advanced ALS were trained either for a block of 20 sessions with a BCI based on sensorimotor rhythms (SMR) or a block of 10 sessions with a BCI based on event-related potentials, or both. Questionnaires assessed QoL and severity of depressive symptoms before each training block and mood and motivation before each training session. The SMR-BCI required more training than the P300-BCI. The information transfer rate was higher with the P300-BCI (3.25 bits/min) than with the SMR-BCI (1.16 bits/min). Mood and motivation were related to the number of BCI sessions. Motivational factors, specifically challenge and mastery confidence, were positively related to BCI performance (controlled for the number of sessions) in tow participants, while incompetence fear was negatively related with performance in one participant. BCI performance was not related to motivational factors in three other participants nor to mood in any of the six participants. We conclude that motivational factors may be related to BCI performance in individual subjects and suggest that motivational factors and well-being should be assessed in standard BCI protocols. We also recommend using P300-based BCI as first choice in severely paralyzed patients who present with a P300 evoked potential.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; brain–computer interface; motivation; mood; sensorimotor rhythms; P300 event-related potential
In a brain-computer interface (BCI) utilizing a process control strategy, the signal from the cortex is used to control the fine motor details normally handled by other parts of the brain. In a BCI utilizing a goal selection strategy, the signal from the cortex is used to determine the overall end goal of the user, and the BCI controls the fine motor details. A BCI based on goal selection may be an easier and more natural system than one based on process control. Although goal selection in theory may surpass process control the two have never been directly compared, as we are reporting here. Eight young healthy human subjects participated in the present study, three trained and five naïve in BCI usage. Scalp recorded electroencephalograms (EEG) were used to control a computer cursor during five different paradigms. The paradigms were similar in their underlying signal processing and used the same control signal. However, three were based on goal selection, and two on process control. For both the trained and naïve populations, goal selection had more hits per run, was faster, more accurate (for 7/8 subjects), and had a higher information transfer rate than process control. Goal selection outperformed process control in every measure studied in the present investigation.
To use the neural signals preceding movement and motor imagery to predict which of four movements/motor imageries is about to occur, and to access this utility for brain-computer interface (BCI) applications.
Eight naive subjects performed or kinesthetically imagined four movements while electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded from 29 channels over sensorimotor areas. The task was instructed with a specific stimulus (S1) and performed at a second stimulus (S2). A classifier was trained and tested offline at differentiating the EEG signals from movement/imagery preparation (the 1.5 seconds preceding movement/imagery execution).
Accuracy of movement/imagery preparation classification varied between subjects. The system preferentially selected event related (de)synchronization (ERD/ERS) signals for classification, and high accuracies were associated with classifications that relied heavily on the ERD/ERS to discriminate movement/imagery planning.
The ERD/ERS preceding movement and motor imagery can be used to predict which of four movements/imageries is about to occur. Prediction accuracy depends on this signal’s accessibility.
The ERD/ERS is the most specific pre-movement/imagery signal to the movement/imagery about to be performed.
Electroencephalography (EEG); event related (de)synchronization (ERD/ERS); brain-computer interface (BCI); movement; motor imagery
Brain-computer interface (BCI) technology can provide nonmuscular communication and control to people who are severely paralyzed. BCIs can use noninvasive or invasive techniques for recording the brain signals that convey the user’s commands. Although noninvasive BCIs are used for simple applications, it has frequently been assumed that only invasive BCIs, which use electrodes implanted in the brain, will be able to provide multidimensional sequential control of a robotic arm or a neuroprosthesis. The present study shows that a noninvasive BCI using scalp-recorded EEG activity and an adaptive algorithm can provide people, including people with spinal cord injuries, with two-dimensional cursor movement and target selection. Multiple targets were presented around the periphery of a computer screen, with one designated as the correct target. The user’s task was to use EEG to move a cursor from the center the screen to the correct target and then to use an additional EEG feature to select the target. If the cursor reached an incorrect target, the user was instructed not to select it. Thus, this task emulated the key features of mouse operation. The results indicate that people with severe motor disabilities could use brain signals for sequential multidimensional movement and selection.
Even though feedback is considered to play an important role in learning how to operate a brain-computer interface (BCI), to date no significant influence of feedback design on BCI-performance has been reported in literature. In this work, we adapt a standard motor-imagery BCI-paradigm to study how BCI-performance is affected by biasing the belief subjects have on their level of control over the BCI system. Our findings indicate that subjects already capable of operating a BCI are impeded by inaccurate feedback, while subjects normally performing on or close to chance level may actually benefit from an incorrect belief on their performance level. Our results imply that optimal feedback design in BCIs should take into account a subject's current skill level.
While brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are a promising alternative access pathway for individuals with severe motor impairments, many BCI systems are designed as standalone communication and control systems, rather than as interfaces to existing systems built for these purposes. While an individual communication and control system may be powerful or flexible, no single system can compete with the variety of options available in the commercial assistive technology (AT) market. BCIs could instead be used as an interface to these existing AT devices and products, which are designed for improving access and agency of people with disabilities and are highly configurable to individual user needs. However, interfacing with each AT device and program requires significant time and effort on the part of researchers and clinicians. This work presents the Multi-Purpose BCI Output Device (MBOD), a tool to help researchers and clinicians provide BCI control of many forms of AT in a plug-and-play fashion, i.e. without the installation of drivers or software on the AT device, and a proof-of-concept of the practicality of such an approach. The MBOD was designed to meet the goals of target device compatibility, BCI input device compatibility, convenience, and intuitive command structure. The MBOD was successfully used to interface a BCI with multiple AT devices (including two wheelchair seating systems), as well as computers running Windows (XP and 7), Mac and Ubuntu Linux operating systems.
assistive technology; brain-computer interface; communication aids for disabled; compatibility; direct brain interface; interface; interoperability; user-computer interface; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
A brain-computer interface (BCI) functions by translating a neural signal, such as the electroencephalogram (EEG), into a signal that can be used to control a computer or other device. The amplitude of the EEG signals in selected frequency bins are measured and translated into a device command, in this case the horizontal and vertical velocity of a computer cursor. First, the EEG electrodes are applied to the user s scalp using a cap to record brain activity. Next, a calibration procedure is used to find the EEG electrodes and features that the user will learn to voluntarily modulate to use the BCI. In humans, the power in the mu (8-12 Hz) and beta (18-28 Hz) frequency bands decrease in amplitude during a real or imagined movement. These changes can be detected in the EEG in real-time, and used to control a BCI (,). Therefore, during a screening test, the user is asked to make several different imagined movements with their hands and feet to determine the unique EEG features that change with the imagined movements. The results from this calibration will show the best channels to use, which are configured so that amplitude changes in the mu and beta frequency bands move the cursor either horizontally or vertically. In this experiment, the general purpose BCI system BCI2000 is used to control signal acquisition, signal processing, and feedback to the user .
There is now sufficient evidence that using a rehabilitation protocol involving motor imagery (MI) practice in conjunction with physical practice (PP) of goal-directed rehabilitation tasks leads to enhanced functional recovery of paralyzed limbs among stroke sufferers. It is however difficult to confirm patient engagement during an MI in the absence of any on-line measure. Fortunately an EEG-based brain-computer interface (BCI) can provide an on-line measure of MI activity as a neurofeedback for the BCI user to help him/her focus better on the MI task. However initial performance of novice BCI users may be quite moderate and may cause frustration. This paper reports a pilot study in which a BCI system is used to provide a computer game-based neurofeedback to stroke participants during the MI part of a protocol.
The participants included five chronic hemiplegic stroke sufferers. Participants received up to twelve 30-minute MI practice sessions (in conjunction with PP sessions of the same duration) on 2 days a week for 6 weeks. The BCI neurofeedback performance was evaluated based on the MI task classification accuracy (CA) rate. A set of outcome measures including action research arm test (ARAT) and grip strength (GS), was made use of in assessing the upper limb functional recovery. In addition, since stroke sufferers often experience physical tiredness, which may influence the protocol effectiveness, their fatigue and mood levels were assessed regularly.
Positive improvement in at least one of the outcome measures was observed in all the participants, while improvements approached a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for the ARAT. The on-line CA of MI induced sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) modulation patterns in the form of lateralized event-related desynchronization (ERD) and event-related synchronization (ERS) effects, for novice participants was in a moderate range of 60-75% within the limited 12 training sessions. The ERD/ERS change from the first to the last session was statistically significant for only two participants.
Overall the crucial observation is that the moderate BCI classification performance did not impede the positive rehabilitation trends as quantified with the rehabilitation outcome measures adopted in this study. Therefore it can be concluded that the BCI supported MI is a feasible intervention as part of a post-stroke rehabilitation protocol combining both PP and MI practice of rehabilitation tasks. Although these findings are promising, the scope of the final conclusions is limited by the small sample size and the lack of a control group.
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) can use brain signals from the scalp (EEG), the cortical surface (ECoG), or within the cortex to restore movement control to people who are paralyzed. Like muscle-based skills, BCI use requires activity-dependent adaptations in the brain that maintain stable relationships between the person’s intent and the signals that convey it. This study shows that humans can learn over a series of training sessions to use EEG for three-dimensional control. The responsible EEG features are focused topographically on the scalp and spectrally in specific frequency bands. People acquire simultaneous control of three independent signals (one for each dimension) and reach targets in a virtual three-dimensional space. Such BCI control in humans has not been reported previously. The results suggest that with further development noninvasive EEG-based BCIs might control the complex movements of robotic arms or neuroprostheses.
Brain-computer interface (BCI) systems create a novel communication channel from the brain to an output device bypassing conventional motor output pathways of nerves and muscles. Modern BCI technology is essentially based on techniques for the classification of single-trial brain signals. With respect to the topographic patterns of brain
rhythm modulations, the common spatial patterns (CSPs) algorithm has been proven to be very useful to produce
subject-specific and discriminative spatial filters; but it didn't consider temporal structures of event-related potentials which may be very important for single-trial EEG classification. In this paper, we propose a new framework of
feature extraction for classification of hand movement imagery EEG. Computer simulations on real experimental data
indicate that independent residual analysis (IRA) method can provide efficient temporal features. Combining IRA
features with the CSP method, we obtain the optimal spatial and temporal features with which we achieve the best
classification rate. The high classification rate indicates that the proposed method is promising for an EEG-based
The goal of a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is to control a computer by pure brain activity. Recently, BCIs based on code-modulated visual evoked potentials (c-VEPs) have shown great potential to establish high-performance communication. In this paper we present a c-VEP BCI that uses online adaptation of the classifier to reduce calibration time and increase performance. We compare two different approaches for online adaptation of the system: an unsupervised method and a method that uses the detection of error-related potentials. Both approaches were tested in an online study, in which an average accuracy of 96% was achieved with adaptation based on error-related potentials. This accuracy corresponds to an average information transfer rate of 144 bit/min, which is the highest bitrate reported so far for a non-invasive BCI. In a free-spelling mode, the subjects were able to write with an average of 21.3 error-free letters per minute, which shows the feasibility of the BCI system in a normal-use scenario. In addition we show that a calibration of the BCI system solely based on the detection of error-related potentials is possible, without knowing the true class labels.
Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is an optical imaging technology that has recently been investigated for use in a safe, non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) for individuals with severe motor impairments. To date, most NIRS-BCI studies have attempted to discriminate two mental states (e.g., a mental task and rest), which could potentially lead to a two-choice BCI system. In this study, we attempted to automatically differentiate three mental states - specifically, intentional activity due to 1) a mental arithmetic (MA) task and 2) a mental singing (MS) task, and 3) an unconstrained, "no-control (NC)" state - to investigate the feasibility of a three-choice system-paced NIRS-BCI.
Deploying a dual-wavelength frequency domain near-infrared spectrometer, we interrogated nine sites around the frontopolar locations while 7 able-bodied adults performed mental arithmetic and mental singing to answer multiple-choice questions within a system-paced paradigm. With a linear classifier trained on a ten-dimensional feature set, an overall classification accuracy of 56.2% was achieved for the MA vs. MS vs. NC classification problem and all individual participant accuracies significantly exceeded chance (i.e., 33%). However, as anticipated based on results of previous work, the three-class discrimination was unsuccessful for three participants due to the ineffectiveness of the mental singing task. Excluding these three participants increases the accuracy rate to 62.5%. Even without training, three of the remaining four participants achieved accuracies approaching 70%, the value often cited as being necessary for effective BCI communication.
These results are encouraging and demonstrate the potential of a three-state system-paced NIRS-BCI with two intentional control states corresponding to mental arithmetic and mental singing.