Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Ou Bai

Second Advisor

Ding-Yu Fei

Third Advisor

Douglas Murphy


A Brain Computer Interface (BCI) provides a means, to control external devices, through the electrical activity of the brain, bypassing motor movement. Recent years have seen an increase in the application of P300 cognitive potential as a control and/or communication signal for the motor restoration in paralyzed patients, such as those in the later stages of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Although many of these patients are in locked-in state i.e. where motor control is not possible, their cognition is known to remain intact. The P300 speller paradigm explored in this study relying on this cognition represented by the P300 peak potential in EEG (Electroencephalography) signals to restore communication. The conventional visual oddball paradigms used to elicit P300 potential may not be the optimum choice due to their need for precise eye-gazing, which may be challenge for many patients. This study introduces a novel paradigm with motor imagery as a secondary after-stimulus task in a traditional visual oddball paradigm for P300 Speller application. We observed increased P300 peak amplitude as well as the event-related desynchronization (ERD) associated with motor imagery in six healthy novice subjects. Acceptable detection accuracy was obtained in the five-trial averaged signals from 250 ms to 750 ms after the visual stimulation, whereby the early visual evoked potentials were excluded from classification. As an enhancement, efforts are being made to assess implementation by motor imagery embedded in an auditory oddball paradigm which would minimize the need for eye-gazing further. We can conclude from the results of this study that the proposed paradigm with motor imagery embedded in a traditional visual oddball paradigm might be a feasible option for communication restoration in paralyzed patients.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2011