Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Ou Bai

Second Advisor

Ding-Yu Fei

Third Advisor

Azhar Rafiq


The objective of this study is to test whether human intentions to sustain or cease movements in right and left hands can be decoded reliably from spatially filtered single trial magneto-encephalographic (MEG) signals. This study was performed using motor execution and motor imagery movements to achieve a potential high performance Brain-Computer interface (BCI). Seven healthy volunteers, naïve to BCI technology, participated in this study. Signals were recorded from 275-channel MEG and synthetic aperture magnetometry (SAM) was employed as the spatial filter. The four-class classification for natural movement intentions was performed offline; Genetic Algorithm based Mahalanobis Linear Distance (GA-MLD) and direct-decision tree classifier (DTC) techniques were adopted for the classification through 10-fold cross-validation. Through SAM imaging, strong and distinct event related desynchronisation (ERD) associated with sustaining, and event related synchronisation (ERS) patterns associated with ceasing of hand movements were observed in the beta band (15 - 30 Hz). The right and left hand ERD/ERS patterns were observed on the contralateral hemispheres for motor execution and motor imagery sessions. Virtual channels were selected from these cortical areas of high activity to correspond with the motor tasks as per the paradigm of the study. Through a statistical comparison between SAM-filtered virtual channels from single trial MEG signals and basic MEG sensors, it was found that SAM-filtered virtual channels significantly increased the classification accuracy for motor execution (GA-MLD: 96.51 ± 2.43 %) as well as motor imagery sessions (GA-MLD: 89.69 ± 3.34%). Thus, multiple movement intentions can be reliably detected from SAM-based spatially-filtered single trial MEG signals. MEG signals associated with natural motor behavior may be utilized for a reliable high-performance brain-computer interface (BCI) and may reduce long-term training compared with conventional BCI methods using rhythm control. This may prove tremendously helpful for patients suffering from various movement disorders to improve their quality of life.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2009