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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fast detection of covert visuospatial attention using hybrid N2pc and SSVEP features.

  • Author(s): Xu, M
  • Wang, Y
  • Nakanishi, M
  • Wang, Y-T
  • Qi, H
  • Jung, T-P
  • Ming, D
  • et al.

Detecting the shift of covert visuospatial attention (CVSA) is vital for gaze-independent brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), which might be the only communication approach for severely disabled patients who cannot move their eyes. Although previous studies had demonstrated that it is feasible to use CVSA-related electroencephalography (EEG) features to control a BCI system, the communication speed remains very low. This study aims to improve the speed and accuracy of CVSA detection by fusing EEG features of N2pc and steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP).A new paradigm was designed to code the left and right CVSA with the N2pc and SSVEP features, which were then decoded by a classification strategy based on canonical correlation analysis. Eleven subjects were recruited to perform an offline experiment in this study. Temporal waves, amplitudes, and topographies for brain responses related to N2pc and SSVEP were analyzed. The classification accuracy derived from the hybrid EEG features (SSVEP and N2pc) was compared with those using the single EEG features (SSVEP or N2pc).The N2pc could be significantly enhanced under certain conditions of SSVEP modulations. The hybrid EEG features achieved significantly higher accuracy than the single features. It obtained an average accuracy of 72.9% by using a data length of 400 ms after the attention shift. Moreover, the average accuracy reached ∼80% (peak values above 90%) when using 2 s long data.The results indicate that the combination of N2pc and SSVEP is effective for fast detection of CVSA. The proposed method could be a promising approach for implementing a gaze-independent BCI.

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