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Commanding a Brain-Controlled Wheelchair using Steady-State Somatosensory Evoked Potentials
We propose a novel brain-controlled wheelchair, one of the major applications of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), that allows an individual with mobility impairments to perform daily living activities independently. Specifically, we propose to use a steady-state somatosensory evoked potential (SSSEP) paradigm, which elicits brain responses to tactile stimulation of specific frequencies, for a user’s intention to control a wheelchair. In our system, a user had three possible commands by concentrating on one of three vibration stimuli, which were attached to the left-hand, right-hand, and right-foot, to selectively control the wheelchair. The three stimuli were associated with three wheelchair commands: turn-left, turn-right, and move-forward. From a machine learning perspective, we also devise a novel feature representation by combining spatial and spectral characteristics of brain signals. With the SSSEP-based control, all subjects successfully completed the task without making any collision while four subjects failed it with MI-based control. It is also noteworthy that in terms of the average time to complete the task, the SSSEP-based control outperformed the MI-based control. In the other more challenging task, all subjects successfully reached the target location.

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