Information Transfer Rate in BCIs: Towards Tightly Integrated Symbiosis

by   Suayb S. Arslan, et al.

The information transmission rate (ITR), or effective bit rate, is a popular and widely used information measurement metric, particularly popularized for SSVEP-based Brain-Computer (BCI) interfaces. By combining speed and accuracy into a single-valued parameter, this metric aids in the evaluation and comparison of various target identification algorithms across different BCI communities. In order to calculate ITR, it is customary to assume a uniform input distribution and an oversimplified channel model that is memoryless, stationary, and symmetrical in nature with discrete alphabet sizes. To accurately depict performance and inspire an end-to-end design for futuristic BCI designs, a more thorough examination and definition of ITR is therefore required. We model the symbiotic communication medium, hosted by the retinogeniculate visual pathway, as a discrete memoryless channel and use the modified capacity expressions to redefine the ITR. We leverage a result for directed graphs to characterize the relationship between the asymmetry of the transition statistics and the ITR gain due to the new definition, leading to potential bounds on data rate performance. On two well-known SSVEP datasets, we compared two cutting-edge target identification methods. Results indicate that the induced DM channel asymmetry has a greater impact on the actual perceived ITR than the change in input distribution. Moreover, it is demonstrated that the ITR gain under the new definition is inversely correlated with the asymmetry in the channel transition statistics. Individual input customizations are further shown to yield perceived ITR performance improvements. Finally, an algorithm is proposed to find the capacity of binary classification and further discussions are given to extend such results to multi-class case through ensemble techniques.


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