Unimanual and Bimanual Reach-and-Grasp Actions Can Be Decoded From Human EEG

Andreas Schwarz, Joana Pereira, Reinmar Kobler, Gernot Müller-Putz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While most tasks of daily life can be handled through a small number of different grasps, many tasks require the action of both hands. In these bimanual tasks, the second hand has either a supporting role (e.g. for fixating a jar) or a more active role (e.g. grasping a pot on both handles). In this study we attempt to discriminate the neural correlates of unimanual (performed with left and right hand) from bimanual reach-and grasp actions using the low-frequency time-domain electroencephalogram (EEG). In a self-initiated movement task, 15 healthy participants were asked to perform unimanual (palmar and lateral grasps with left and right hand) and bimanual (double lateral, mixed palmar/lateral) reach-and-grasps on objects of daily life. Using EEG time-domain features in the frequency range of 0.3-3 Hz, we achieved multiclass-classification accuracies of 38.6 ± 6.6% (7 classes, 17.1% chance level) for a combination of 6 movements and 1 rest condition. The grand average confusion matrix shows highest true positive rates (TPR) for the rest (63%) condition while TPR for the movement classes varied between 33 to 41%. The underlying movement-related cortical potentials (MRCPs) show significant differences between unimanual (e.g. left hand vs. right hand grasps) as well unimanual vs. bimanual conditions which both can be attributed to lateralization effects. We believe that these findings can be exploited and further used for attempts in providing persons with spinal cord injury a form of natural control for bimanual neuroprostheses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

Cite this