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To what extent can dry and water-based EEG electrodes replace conductive gel ones?: A Steady State Visual Evoked Potential Brain-Computer Interface Case Study

Author: Mihajlovic, V. · Garcia Molina, G. · Peuscher, J
Type:Conference paper
Publisher: Springer
Institution: Philips Research
Source:ICBE 2011: International Conference on Biomedical Engineering, Venice, Italy, 2011
Identifier: MS-32.718
Keywords: bci · brain-computer interface · dry electrodes · eeg · eeg, artifacts, correction,ica · electroencephalography · ssvep
Rights: (c) 2011 Springer


Recent technological advances in the field of skin electrodes and on-body sensors indicate a possibility of having an alternative to the traditionally used conductive gel electrodes for measuring electrical signals of the brain (electroencephalogram, EEG). This paper evaluates whether water-based and dry contact electrode solutions can replace the gel ones. The quality of the obtained signal by three headsets, each using 8 electrodes of a different type, is estimated onthe steady state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) brain-computer interface (BCI) use case. The stimuli frequencies in the low (12 to 21Hz) and high (28 to 40Hz) frequency domain were used. Six people, that had different hair length and type, participated in the experiment. SSVEP response in terms of power spectra across different electrodes is compared and the impact of noise on temporal characteristics ofthe response is discussed. For people with shorter hair style the performance of water-based and dry electrodes comes close to the gelones in the optimal setting. On average, the classification accuracy of 0.63 for dry and 0.88 for water-based electrodes is achieved, compared to the 0.96 obtained for gel electrodes. The theoretical maximum of the average information transfer rate across participants was 23bpm for dry, 38bpm for water-based and 67bpm for gel electrodes. Furthermore, the convenience level of all three setups was seen as comparable. These results demonstrate that, having optimized headset and electrode design for dry and water-based electrodes for people with different hair length and type, dry and water-based electrode scan replace gel ones in BCIs and Neurofeedback applications where lower communication speed is acceptable.

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