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Brain–computer interfacing under distraction: an evaluation study

Brandl, Stephanie; Frølich, Linda; Höhne, Johannes; Müller, Klaus-Robert; Samek, Wojciech

Objective. While motor-imagery based brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) have been studied over many years by now, most of these studies have taken place in controlled lab settings. Bringing BCI technology into everyday life is still one of the main challenges in this field of research. Approach. This paper systematically investigates BCI performance under 6 types of distractions that mimic out-of-lab environments. Main results. We report results of 16 participants and show that the performance of the standard common spatial patterns (CSP) + regularized linear discriminant analysis classification pipeline drops significantly in this 'simulated' out-of-lab setting. We then investigate three methods for improving the performance: (1) artifact removal, (2) ensemble classification, and (3) a 2-step classification approach. While artifact removal does not enhance the BCI performance significantly, both ensemble classification and the 2-step classification combined with CSP significantly improve the performance compared to the standard procedure. Significance. Systematically analyzing out-of-lab scenarios is crucial when bringing BCI into everyday life. Algorithms must be adapted to overcome nonstationary environments in order to tackle real-world challenges.
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Published in: Journal of Neural Engineering, 10.1088/1741-2560/13/5/056012, Institute of Physics Publishing (IOP)