- McCrimmon, Colin M;
- Fu, Jonathan Lee;
- Wang, Ming;
- Lopes, Lucas Silva;
- Wang, Po T;
- Karimi-Bidhendi, Alireza;
- Liu, Charles Y;
- Heydari, Payam;
- Nenadic, Zoran;
- Do, An Hong
ObjectiveConventional brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are often expensive, complex to operate, and lack portability, which confines their use to laboratory settings. Portable, inexpensive BCIs can mitigate these problems, but it remains unclear whether their low-cost design compromises their performance. Therefore, we developed a portable, low-cost BCI and compared its performance to that of a conventional BCI.
MethodsThe BCI was assembled by integrating a custom electroencephalogram (EEG) amplifier with an open-source microcontroller and a touchscreen. The function of the amplifier was first validated against a commercial bioamplifier, followed by a head-to-head comparison between the custom BCI (using four EEG channels) and a conventional 32-channel BCI. Specifically, five able-bodied subjects were cued to alternate between hand opening/closing and remaining motionless while the BCI decoded their movement state in real time and provided visual feedback through a light emitting diode. Subjects repeated the above task for a total of 10 trials, and were unaware of which system was being used. The performance in each trial was defined as the temporal correlation between the cues and the decoded states.
ResultsThe EEG data simultaneously acquired with the custom and commercial amplifiers were visually similar and highly correlated ( ρ = 0.79). The decoding performances of the custom and conventional BCIs averaged across trials and subjects were 0.70 ± 0.12 and 0.68 ± 0.10, respectively, and were not significantly different.
ConclusionThe performance of our portable, low-cost BCI is comparable to that of the conventional BCIs.
SignificancePlatforms, such as the one developed here, are suitable for BCI applications outside of a laboratory.