Comparison of Sensor Selection Mechanisms for an ERP-Based Brain-Computer Interface
In PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, volume 8, number 7, pages e67543, Jul/2013.
A major barrier for a broad applicability of brain computer interfaces (BCIs) based on electroencephalography (EEG) is the large number of EEG sensor electrodes typically used. The necessity for this results from the fact that the relevant information for the BCI is often spread over the scalp in complex patterns that differ depending on subjects and application scenarios. Recently, a number of methods have been proposed to determine an individual optimal sensor selection. These methods have, however, rarely been compared against each other or against any type of baseline. In this paper, we review several selection approaches and propose one additional selection criterion based on the evaluation of the performance of a BCI system using a reduced set of sensors. We evaluate the methods in the context of a passive BCI system that is designed to detect a P300 event-related potential and compare the performance of the methods against randomly generated sensor constellations. For a realistic estimation of the reduced system's performance we transfer sensor constellations found on one experimental session to a different session for evaluation. We identified notable (and unanticipated) differences among the methods and could demonstrate that the best method in our setup is able to reduce the required number of sensors considerably. Though our application focuses on EEG data, all presented algorithms and evaluation schemes can be transferred to any binary classification task on sensor arrays.