Using a Non-Invasive Decoding Method to Classify Rhythmic Movement Imaginations of the Arm in Two Planes

Patrick Ofner, Gernot Müller-Putz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A brain-computer interface (BCI) can help to overcome movement deficits in persons with spinal-cord injury. Ideally, such a BCI detects detailed movement imaginations, i.e., trajectories, and transforms them into a control signal for a neuroprosthesis or a robotic arm restoring movement. Robotic arms have already been controlled successfully by means of invasive recording techniques, and executed movements have been reconstructed using noninvasive decoding techniques. However, it is unclear if detailed imagined movements can be decoded noninvasively using electroencephalography (EEG). We made progress toward imagined movement decoding and successfully classified horizontal and vertical imagined rhythmic movements of the right arm in healthy subjects using EEG. Notably, we used an experimental design which avoided muscle and eye movements to prevent classification results being affected. To classify imagined movements of the same limb, we decoded the movement trajectories and correlated them with assumed movement trajectories (horizontal and vertical). We then assigned the decoded movements to the assumed movements with the higher correlation. To train the decoder, we applied partial least squares, which allowed us to interpret the classifier weights although channels were highly correlated. To conclude, we showed the classification of imagined movements of one limb in two different movement planes in seven out of nine subjects. Furthermore, we found a strong involvement of the supplementary motor area. Finally, as our classifier was based on the decoding approach, we indirectly showed the decoding of imagined movements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-981
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)
  • Experimental

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