Classification of primitive shapes using brain–computer interfaces

Ehsan Tarkesh Esfahani, V. Sundararajan



Brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) are recent developments in alternative technologies of user interaction. The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential of BCIs as user interfaces for CAD systems. The paper describes experiments and algorithms that use the BCI to distinguish between primitive shapes that are imagined by a user. Users wear an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset and imagine the shape of a cube, sphere, cylinder, pyramid or a cone. The EEG headset collects brain activity from 14 locations on the scalp. The data is analyzed with independent component analysis (ICA) and the Hilbert–Huang Transform (HHT). The features of interest are the marginal spectra of different frequency bands (theta, alpha, beta and gamma bands) calculated from the Hilbert spectrum of each independent component. The Mann–Whitney U-test is then applied to rank the EEG electrode channels by relevance in five pair-wise classifications. The features from the highest ranking independent components form the final feature vector which is then used to train a linear discriminant classifier. Results show that this classifier can discriminate between the five basic primitive objects with an average accuracy of about 44.6% (compared to naïve classification rate of 20%) over ten subjects (accuracy range of 36%–54%). The accuracy classification changes to 39.9% when both visual and verbal cues are used. The repeatability of the feature extraction and classification was checked by conducting the experiment on 10 different days with the same participants. This shows that the BCI holds promise in creating geometric shapes in CAD systems and could be used as a novel means of user interaction.


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