A Stimulus-Independent Hybrid BCI Based on Motor Imagery and Somatosensory Attentional Orientation

August 16, 2017

Lin YaoXinjun ShengDingguo ZhangNing JiangNatalie Mrachacz-KerstingXiangyang ZhuDario Farina

A Stimulus-Independent Hybrid BCI Based on Motor Imagery and Somatosensory Attentional Orientation

Distinctive EEG signals from the motor and somatosensory cortex are generated during mental tasks of motor imagery (MI) and somatosensory attentional orientation (SAO). In this study, we hypothesize that a combination of these two signal modalities provides improvements in BCI performance with respect to using the two methods separately, and generate novel types of multi-class BCI systems. Thirty-two subjects were randomly divided into a Control-Group and a Hybrid-Group. In the Control-Group, the subjects performed left and right hand motor imagery (i.e., L-MI and R-MI). In the Hybrid-Group, the subjects performed the four mental tasks (i.e., L-MI, R-MI, LSAO, and R-SAO). The results indicate that combining two of the tasks in a hybrid manner (such as L-SAO and R-MI), resulted in a significantly greater classification accuracy than when using two MI tasks. The hybrid modality reached 86.1% classification accuracy on average, with a 7.70% increase with respect to MI (P < 0:01), and 7.21% to SAO (P < 0:01) alone. Moreover, all 16 subjects in the hybrid modality reached at least 70% accuracy, which is considered the threshold for BCI illiteracy. In addition to the two-class results, the classification accuracy was 68.1% and 54.1% for the 3-class and 4-class hybrid BCI. Combining the induced brain signals from motor and somatosensory cortex, the proposed stimulus-independent hybrid BCI has shown improved performance with respect to individual modalities, reducing the portion of BCI-illiterate subjects, and provided novel types of multi-class BCIs.

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