A neural network-based optimal spatial filter design method for motor imagery classification

Ayhan Yuksel, Tamer Olmez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, a novel spatial filter design method is introduced. Spatial filtering is an important processing step for feature extraction in motor imagery-based brain-computer interfaces. This paper introduces a new motor imagery signal classification method combined with spatial filter optimization. We simultaneously train the spatial filter and the classifier using a neural network approach. The proposed spatial filter network (SFN) is composed of two layers: a spatial filtering layer and a classifier layer. These two layers are linked to each other with non-linear mapping functions. The proposed method addresses two shortcomings of the common spatial patterns (CSP) algorithm. First, CSP aims to maximize the between-classes variance while ignoring the minimization of within-classes variances. Consequently, the features obtained using the CSP method may have large within-classes variances. Second, the maximizing optimization function of CSP increases the classification accuracy indirectly because an independent classifier is used after the CSP method. With SFN, we aimed to maximize the between-classes variance while minimizing within-classes variances and simultaneously optimizing the spatial filter and the classifier. To classify motor imagery EEG signals, we modified the well-known feed-forward structure and derived forward and backward equations that correspond to the proposed structure. We tested our algorithm on simple toy data. Then, we compared the SFN with conventional CSP and its multi-class version, called one-versus-rest CSP, on two data sets from BCI competition III. The evaluation results demonstrate that SFN is a good alternative for classifying motor imagery EEG signals with increased classification accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0125039
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Yuksel, Olmez.


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