Enhanced performance by a Hybrid NIRS-EEG Brain Computer Interface
Siamac Fazli, Jan Mehnert, Jens Steinbrink, Gabriel Curio, Arno Villringer, Klaus-Robert Müller and Benjamin Blankertz
Noninvasive Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) have been promoted to be used for neuroprosthetics. However, reports on applications with electroencephalography (EEG) show a demand for a better accuracy and stability. Here we investigate whether near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) can be used to enhance the EEG approach. In our study both methods were applied simultaneously in a real-time Sensory Motor Rhythm (SMR)-based BCI paradigm, involving executed movements as well as motor imagery. We tested how the classification of NIRS data can complement ongoing real-time EEG classification. Our results show that simultaneous measurements of NIRS and EEG can significantly improve the classification accuracy of motor imagery in over 90% of considered subjects and increases performance by 5% on average (p < 0:01). However, the long time delay of the hemodynamic response may hinder an overall increase of bit-rates. Furthermore we find that EEG and NIRS complement each other in terms of information content and are thus a viable multimodal imaging technique, suitable for BCI.