Research Article: Introducing chaotic codes for the modulation of code modulated visual evoked potentials (c-VEP) in normal adults for visual fatigue reduction

Date Published: March 6, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Zahra Shirzhiyan, Ahmadreza Keihani, Morteza Farahi, Elham Shamsi, Mina GolMohammadi, Amin Mahnam, Mohsen Reza Haidari, Amir Homayoun Jafari, Xu Lei.


Code modulated Visual Evoked Potentials (c-VEP) based BCI studies usually employ m-sequences as a modulating codes for their broadband spectrum and correlation property. However, subjective fatigue of the presented codes has been a problem. In this study, we introduce chaotic codes containing broadband spectrum and similar correlation property. We examined whether the introduced chaotic codes could be decoded from EEG signals and also compared the subjective fatigue level with m-sequence codes in normal subjects. We generated chaotic code from one-dimensional logistic map and used it with conventional 31-bit m-sequence code. In a c-VEP based study in normal subjects (n = 44, 21 females) we presented these codes visually and recorded EEG signals from the corresponding codes for their four lagged versions. Canonical correlation analysis (CCA) and spatiotemporal beamforming (STB) methods were used for target identification and comparison of responses. Additionally, we compared the subjective self-declared fatigue using VAS caused by presented m-sequence and chaotic codes. The introduced chaotic code was decoded from EEG responses with CCA and STB methods. The maximum total accuracy values of 93.6 ± 11.9% and 94 ± 14.4% were achieved with STB method for chaotic and m-sequence codes for all subjects respectively. The achieved accuracies in all subjects were not significantly different in m-sequence and chaotic codes. There was significant reduction in subjective fatigue caused by chaotic codes compared to the m-sequence codes. Both m-sequence and chaotic codes were similar in their accuracies as evaluated by CCA and STB methods. The chaotic codes significantly reduced subjective fatigue compared to the m-sequence codes.

Partial Text

Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) are EEG responses to the visual stimuli. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) based on these potentials are becoming popular, for their less training time and high information transfer rate (ITR) [1]. VEP-based BCI systems can be classified into three different categories: time modulated, frequency modulated and code modulated stimuli [2]. In systems with the time modulated stimuli, the sequence of target stimuli is coded in non-overlapping time windows such as P300 based BCI system. This, however, usually leads to low ITR [2]. In systems with frequency modulated stimuli, different targets are defined by their distinct frequencies that can be recognized by detecting the same target frequencies and their harmonics [2] and phase information of the evoked responses [3, 4]. In code modulated BCI systems, the pattern of flashing is determined by using a pseudo-random manner sequence such as an m-sequence [5]. In this modality the work mechanism is based on using the different shifts of modulating codes. These codes have Dirac like auto-correlation function that allows using shifted versions of modulating codes as different targets for evoking different VEPs. A simple and short calibration allows to have a specific EEG response to the m-sequence, and with that, all the targets that are lagged versions of the same m-sequence can be distinguished [2, 6].

Figs 12 and 13 show the grand average of evoked responses to m-sequences and chaotic codes. The grand averages of response for each stimuli was calculated by averaging all epochs in 10 trails and then across all channels and finally averaged for all subjects. For illustrating the existing delay between the m-sequence responses, the auto-correlation of Rm1 (response to M1) and its cross-correlation with other responses Rmi(i=2:4) are shown in Fig 12. The similar results for the chaotic codes responses are presented in Fig 13.

In this study, we successfully used chaotic codes to evoke c-VEPs and found that the chaotic codes significantly reduced subjective fatigue compared to the conventional m-sequence code. We showed that the proposed code was able to evoke distinctive identifiable responses in EEG comparable with the m-sequence code that is currently employed in c-VEP response generation and code modulated based BCIs.