A Generalizable Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Using Machine Learning for Feature Discovery

Nurse, Ewan S.; Karoly, Philippa J.; Grayden, David B.; Freestone, Dean R.

This work describes a generalized method for classifying motor-related neural signals for a brain-computer interface (BCI), based on a stochastic machine learning method. The method differs from the various feature extraction and selection techniques employed in many other BCI systems. The classifier does not use extensive a-priori information, resulting in reduced reliance on highly specific domain knowledge. Instead of pre-defining features, the time-domain signal is input to a population of multi-layer perceptrons (MLPs) in order to perform a stochastic search for the best structure. The results showed that the average performance of the new algorithm outperformed other published methods using the Berlin BCI IV (2008) competition dataset and was comparable to the best results in the Berlin BCI II (2002–3) competition dataset. The new method was also applied to electroencephalography (EEG) data recorded from five subjects undertaking a hand squeeze task and demonstrated high levels of accuracy with a mean classification accuracy of 78.9% after five-fold cross-validation. Our new approach has been shown to give accurate results across different motor tasks and signal types as well as between subjects.


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January 12, 2016