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Brain Topogr. 2012 Jan;25(1):55-63. doi: 10.1007/s10548-011-0193-y. Epub 2011 Jul 10.

Impact of spatial filters during sensor selection in a visual P300 brain-computer interface.

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Grenoble Universities, Saint Martin d'Hères, France.


A challenge in designing a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is the choice of the channels, e.g. the most relevant sensors. Although a setup with many sensors can be more efficient for the detection of Event-Related Potential (ERP) like the P300, it is relevant to consider only a low number of sensors for a commercial or clinical BCI application. Indeed, a reduced number of sensors can naturally increase the user comfort by reducing the time required for the installation of the EEG (electroencephalogram) cap and can decrease the price of the device. In this study, the influence of spatial filtering during the process of sensor selection is addressed. Two of them maximize the Signal to Signal-plus-Noise Ratio (SSNR) for the different sensor subsets while the third one maximizes the differences between the averaged P300 waveform and the non P300 waveform. We show that the locations of the most relevant sensors subsets for the detection of the P300 are highly dependent on the use of spatial filtering. Applied on data from 20 healthy subjects, this study proves that subsets obtained where sensors are suppressed in relation to their individual SSNR are less efficient than when sensors are suppressed in relation to their contribution once the different selected sensors are combined for enhancing the signal. In other words, it highlights the difference between estimating the P300 projection on the scalp and evaluating the more efficient sensor subsets for a P300-BCI. Finally, this study explores the issue of channel commonality across subjects. The results support the conclusion that spatial filters during the sensor selection procedure allow selecting better sensors for a visual P300 Brain-Computer Interface.

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