Enhancing brain-computer interfacing through advanced independent component analysis techniques

Wang, Suogang (2009) Enhancing brain-computer interfacing through advanced independent component analysis techniques. University of Southampton, Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, Doctoral Thesis , 287pp.


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A Brain-computer interface (BCI) is a direct communication system between a brain
and an external device in which messages or commands sent by an individual do not
pass through the brain’s normal output pathways but is detected through brain signals.
Some severe motor impairments, such as Amyothrophic Lateral Sclerosis, head
trauma, spinal injuries and other diseases may cause the patients to lose their muscle
control and become unable to communicate with the outside environment. Currently
no effective cure or treatment has yet been found for these diseases. Therefore using a
BCI system to rebuild the communication pathway becomes a possible alternative
solution. Among different types of BCIs, an electroencephalogram (EEG) based BCI
is becoming a popular system due to EEG’s fine temporal resolution, ease of use,
portability and low set-up cost. However EEG’s susceptibility to noise is a major
issue to develop a robust BCI. Signal processing techniques such as coherent
averaging, filtering, FFT and AR modelling, etc. are used to reduce the noise and
extract components of interest. However these methods process the data on the
observed mixture domain which mixes components of interest and noise. Such a
limitation means that extracted EEG signals possibly still contain the noise residue or
coarsely that the removed noise also contains part of EEG signals embedded.
Independent Component Analysis (ICA), a Blind Source Separation (BSS)
technique, is able to extract relevant information within noisy signals and separate the
fundamental sources into the independent components (ICs). The most common
assumption of ICA method is that the source signals are unknown and statistically
independent. Through this assumption, ICA is able to recover the source signals.
Since the ICA concepts appeared in the fields of neural networks and signal
processing in the 1980s, many ICA applications in telecommunications, biomedical
data analysis, feature extraction, speech separation, time-series analysis and data
mining have been reported in the literature. In this thesis several ICA techniques are
proposed to optimize two major issues for BCI applications: reducing the recording
time needed in order to speed up the signal processing and reducing the number of
recording channels whilst improving the final classification performance or at least
with it remaining the same as the current performance. These will make BCI a more
practical prospect for everyday use.
This thesis first defines BCI and the diverse BCI models based on different
control patterns. After the general idea of ICA is introduced along with some
modifications to ICA, several new ICA approaches are proposed. The practical work
in this thesis starts with the preliminary analyses on the Southampton BCI pilot
datasets starting with basic and then advanced signal processing techniques. The
proposed ICA techniques are then presented using a multi-channel event related
potential (ERP) based BCI. Next, the ICA algorithm is applied to a multi-channel
spontaneous activity based BCI. The final ICA approach aims to examine the
possibility of using ICA based on just one or a few channel recordings on an ERP
based BCI.
The novel ICA approaches for BCI systems presented in this thesis show that ICA
is able to accurately and repeatedly extract the relevant information buried within
noisy signals and the signal quality is enhanced so that even a simple classifier can
achieve good classification accuracy. In the ERP based BCI application, after multichannel
ICA the data just applied to eight averages/epochs can achieve 83.9%
classification accuracy whilst the data by coherent averaging can reach only 32.3%
accuracy. In the spontaneous activity based BCI, the use of the multi-channel ICA
algorithm can effectively extract discriminatory information from two types of singletrial
EEG data. The classification accuracy is improved by about 25%, on average,
compared to the performance on the unpreprocessed data. The single channel ICA
technique on the ERP based BCI produces much better results than results using the
lowpass filter. Whereas the appropriate number of averages improves the signal to
noise rate of P300 activities which helps to achieve a better classification. These
advantages will lead to a reliable and practical BCI for use outside of the clinical

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > Institute of Sound and Vibration Research > Signal Processing and Control
ePrint ID: 65897
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
March 2009Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2009
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:47
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/65897

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