Differences in hemodynamic activations between motor imagery and upper limb FES with NIRS.

Markus Schürholz, Mohit Rana, Neethu Robinson, Ander Ramos-Murguialday, Woosang Cho, Martin Rohm, Rudiger Rupp, Niels Birbaumer, Ranganatha Sitaram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A brain-computer interface (BCI) based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) could act as a tool for rehabilitation of stroke patients due to the neural activity induced by motor imagery aided by real-time feedback of hemodynamic activation. When combined with functional electrical stimulation (FES) of the affected limb, BCI is expected to have an even greater benefit due to the contingency established between motor imagery and afferent, haptic feedback from stimulation. Yet, few studies have explored such an approach, presumably due to the difficulty in dissociating and thus decoding the hemodynamic response (HDR) between motor imagery and peripheral stimulation. Here, for the first time, we demonstrate that NIRS signals elicited by motor imagery can be reliably discriminated from those due to FES, by first performing a univariate analysis of the NIRS signals, and subsequently by multivariate pattern classification. Our results showing that robust classification of motor imagery from the rest condition is possible support previous findings that imagery could be used to drive a BCI based on NIRS. More importantly, we demonstrate for the first time the successful classification of motor imagery and FES, indicating that it is technically feasible to implement a contingent NIRS-BCI with FES.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics

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