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A novel 9-class auditory ERP paradigm driving a predictive text entry system

: Höhne, Johannes; Schreuder, Martijn; Blankertz, Benjamin; Tangermann, Michael

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Frontiers in Neuroscience 5 (2011), Art. 99, 10 pp.
ISSN: 1662-4548
ISSN: 1662-453X
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer FIRST ()

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) based on event related potentials (ERPs) strive for offering communication pathways which are independent of muscle activity. While most visual ERPbased BCI paradigms require good control of the user's gaze direction, auditory BCI paradigms overcome this restriction. The present work proposes a novel approach using auditory evoked potentials for the example of a multiclass text spelling application. To control the ERP speller, BCI users focus their attention to two-dimensional auditory stimuli that vary in both, pitch (high/medium/low) and direction (left/middle/right) and that are presented via headphones. The resulting nine different control signals are exploited to drive a predictive text entry system. It enables the user to spell a letter by a single nine-class decision plus two additional decisions to confirm a spelled word. This paradigm - called PASS2D - was investigated in an online study with 12 healthy participants. Users spell ed with more than 0.8 characters per minute on average (3.4 bits/min) which makes PASS2D a competitive method. It could enrich the toolbox of existing ERP paradigms for BCI end users like people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease in a late stage.