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VR-enabled portable brain-computer interfaces via wireless soft bioelectronics

Musa Mahmood, Noah Kim, Muhammad Mahmood, Hojoong Kim, Hyeonseok Kim, Nathan Rodeheaver, Mingyu Sang, Ki Jun Yu, Woon-Hong Yeo
Biosensors & bioelectronics 2022 v.210 pp. 114333
algorithms, biosensors, brain, computer simulation, disease diagnosis, electronics, eyes, humans, information exchange
Noninvasive, wearable brain-computer interfaces (BCI) find limited use due to their obtrusive nature and low information. Currently available portable BCI systems are limited by device rigidity, bulky form factors, and gel-based skin-contact electrodes – and therefore more prone to noise and motion artifacts. Here, we introduce virtual reality (VR)-enabled split-eye asynchronous stimulus (SEAS) allowing a target to present different stimuli to either eye. This results in unique asynchronous stimulus patterns measurable with as few as four EEG electrodes, as demonstrated with improved wireless soft electronics for portable BCI. This VR-embedded SEAS paradigm demonstrates potential for improved throughput with a greater number of unique stimuli. A wearable soft platform featuring dry needle electrodes and shielded stretchable interconnects enables high throughput decoding of steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEP) for a text spelling interface. A combination of skin-conformal electrodes and soft materials offers high-quality recordings of SSVEP with minimal motion artifacts, validated by comparing the performance with a conventional wearable system. A deep-learning algorithm provides real-time classification, with an accuracy of 78.93% for 0.8 s and 91.73% for 2 s with 33 classes from nine human subjects, allowing for a successful demonstration of VR text spelling and navigation of a real-world environment. With as few as only four data recording channels, the system demonstrates a highly competitive information transfer rate (243.6 bit/min). Collectively, the VR-enabled soft system offers unique advantages in wireless, real-time monitoring of brain signals for portable BCI, neurological rehabilitation, and disease diagnosis.