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How Many Electrodes Are Really Needed for EEG-Based Mobile Brain Imaging?

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DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2012.23044    7,429 Downloads   12,100 Views   Citations


A noninvasive method for imaging the human brain during mobile activities could have far reaching benefits for studies of human motor control, for research and treatment of neurological disabilities, and for brain-controlled powered prosthetic limbs or orthoses. Several recent studies have demonstrated that electroencephalography (EEG) can be used to image the brain during locomotion provided that signal processing techniques, such as independent Component Analysis (ICA), are used to parse electrocortical activity from artifact contaminated EEG. However, these studies used high-density 256-channel EEG sensor arrays, which are likely too time-consuming to setup in a clinical or field setting. Therefore, it is important to evaluate how reducing the number of EEG channel signals affects the electrocortical source signals that can be parsed from EEG recorded during standing and walking while concurrently performing a visual oddball discrimination task. Specifically, we computed temporal and spatial correlations between electrocortical sources parsed from high-density EEG and electrocortical sources parsed from reduced-channel subsets of the original high-density EEG. For this task, our results indicate that on average an EEG montage with as few as 35 channels may be sufficient to record the two most dominate electrocortical sources (temporal and spatial R2 > 0.9). Correlations for additional electrocortical sources decreased linearly such that the least dominant sources extracted from the 35 channel dataset had temporal and spatial correlations of approximately 0.7. This suggests that for certain applications the number of EEG sensors used for mobile brain imaging could be vastly reduced, but researchers and clinicians must consider the expected distribution of relevant electrocortical sources when determining the number of EEG sensors necessary for a particular application.

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T. Lau, J. Gwin and D. Ferris, "How Many Electrodes Are Really Needed for EEG-Based Mobile Brain Imaging?," Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2012, pp. 387-393. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2012.23044.


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