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Asynchronous control is an important issue for brain--computer interfaces (BCIs) working in real-life settings, where the machine should determine from brain signals not only the desired command but also when the user wants to input it. In this paper, we propose a novel computational approach for robust asynchronous control using electroencephalogram (EEG) and a P300-based oddball paradigm. In this approach, we first address the mathematical modeling of target P300, nontarget P300, and noncontrol signals, by using Gaussian distribution models in a support vector margin space. Furthermore, we derive a method to compute the likelihood of control state in a time window of EEG. Finally, we devise a recursive algorithm to detect control states in ongoing EEG for online application. We conducted experiments with four subjects to study both the asynchronous BCI's receiver operating characteristics and its performance in actual online tests. The results show that the BCI is able to achieve an averaged information transfer rate of approximately 20 b/min at a low false positive rate (one event per minute).
Date of Publication: June 2008