Combining Features for BCI

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 15 (NIPS 2002)

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Guido Dornhege, Benjamin Blankertz, Gabriel Curio, Klaus-Robert Müller


Recently, interest is growing to develop an effective communication in- terface connecting the human brain to a computer, the ’Brain-Computer Interface’ (BCI). One motivation of BCI research is to provide a new communication channel substituting normal motor output in patients with severe neuromuscular disabilities. In the last decade, various neuro- physiological cortical processes, such as slow potential shifts, movement related potentials (MRPs) or event-related desynchronization (ERD) of spontaneous EEG rhythms, were shown to be suitable for BCI, and, con- sequently, different independent approaches of extracting BCI-relevant EEG-features for single-trial analysis are under investigation. Here, we present and systematically compare several concepts for combining such EEG-features to improve the single-trial classification. Feature combi- nations are evaluated on movement imagination experiments with 3 sub- jects where EEG-features are based on either MRPs or ERD, or both. Those combination methods that incorporate the assumption that the sin- gle EEG-features are physiologically mutually independent outperform the plain method of ’adding’ evidence where the single-feature vectors are simply concatenated. These results strengthen the hypothesis that MRP and ERD reflect at least partially independent aspects of cortical processes and open a new perspective to boost BCI effectiveness.