Information-based Adaptive Stimulus Selection to Optimize Communication Efficiency in Brain-Computer Interfaces

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Boyla Mainsah, Dmitry Kalika, Leslie Collins, Siyuan Liu, Chandra Throckmorton


Stimulus-driven brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), such as the P300 speller, rely on using a sequence of sensory stimuli to elicit specific neural responses as control signals, while a user attends to relevant target stimuli that occur within the sequence. In current BCIs, the stimulus presentation schedule is typically generated in a pseudo-random fashion. Given the non-stationarity of brain electrical signals, a better strategy could be to adapt the stimulus presentation schedule in real-time by selecting the optimal stimuli that will maximize the signal-to-noise ratios of the elicited neural responses and provide the most information about the user's intent based on the uncertainties of the data being measured. However, the high-dimensional stimulus space limits the development of algorithms with tractable solutions for optimized stimulus selection to allow for real-time decision-making within the stringent time requirements of BCI processing. We derive a simple analytical solution of an information-based objective function for BCI stimulus selection by transforming the high-dimensional stimulus space into a one-dimensional space that parameterizes the objective function - the prior probability mass of the stimulus under consideration, irrespective of its contents. We demonstrate the utility of our adaptive stimulus selection algorithm in improving BCI performance with results from simulation and real-time human experiments.