Mixture of time-warped trajectory models for movement decoding

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 23 (NIPS 2010)

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Elaine Corbett, Eric Perreault, Konrad Koerding


Applications of Brain-Machine-Interfaces typically estimate user intent based on biological signals that are under voluntary control. For example, we might want to estimate how a patient with a paralyzed arm wants to move based on residual muscle activity. To solve such problems it is necessary to integrate obtained information over time. To do so, state of the art approaches typically use a probabilistic model of how the state, e.g. position and velocity of the arm, evolves over time – a so-called trajectory model. We wanted to further develop this approach using two intuitive insights: (1) At any given point of time there may be a small set of likely movement targets, potentially identified by the location of objects in the workspace or by gaze information from the user. (2) The user may want to produce movements at varying speeds. We thus use a generative model with a trajectory model incorporating these insights. Approximate inference on that generative model is implemented using a mixture of extended Kalman filters. We find that the resulting algorithm allows us to decode arm movements dramatically better than when we use a trajectory model with linear dynamics.