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In Journal of neural engineering ; h5-index 52.0

OBJECTIVE : The emergence of mobile electroencephalogram (EEG) platforms have expanded the use cases of brain--computer interfaces (BCIs) from laboratory-oriented experiments to our daily life. In challenging situations where humans' natural behaviors such as head movements are unrestrained, various artifacts could deteriorate the performance of BCI applications. This paper explored the effect of muscular artifacts generated by participants' head movements on the signal characteristics and classification performance of steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs).

APPROACH : A moving visual flicker was employed to induce not only SSVEPs but also horizontal and vertical head movements at controlled speeds, leading to acquiring EEG signals with intensity-manipulated muscular artifacts. To properly induce neck muscular activities, a laser light was attached to participants' heads to give visual feedback; the laser light indicates the direction of the head independently from eye movements. The visual stimulus was also modulated by four distinct frequencies (10, 11, 12, and 13 Hz). The amplitude and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) were estimated to quantify the effects of head movements on the signal characteristics of the elicited SSVEPs. The frequency identification accuracy was also estimated by using well-established decoding algorithms including calibration-free and fully-calibrated approaches.

MAIN RESULTS : The amplitude and SNR of SSVEPs tended to deteriorate when the participants moved their heads, and this tendency was significantly stronger in the vertical head movements than in the horizontal movements. The frequency identification accuracy also deteriorated in proportion to the speed of head movements. Importantly, the accuracy was significantly higher than its chance-level regardless of the level of artifact contamination and algorithms.

SIGNIFICANCE : The results suggested the feasibility of decoding SSVEPs in humans freely moving their head directions, facilitating the real-world applications of mobile BCIs. The clinical trial registration number is HF2018-858.

Kanoga Suguru, Nakanishi Masaki, Murai Akihiko, Tada Mitsunori, Kanemura Atsunori


BCI, EEG, SSVEP, muscular artifact, spatial filter