The cost of space independence in P300-BCI spellers

Srivas Chennu, Abdulmajeed Alsufyani, Marco Filetti, Adrian M Owen, Howard Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Though non-invasive EEG-based Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) have been researched extensively over the last two decades, most designs require control of spatial attention and/or gaze on the part of the user.

METHODS: In healthy adults, we compared the offline performance of a space-independent P300-based BCI for spelling words using Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP), to the well-known space-dependent Matrix P300 speller.

RESULTS: EEG classifiability with the RSVP speller was as good as with the Matrix speller. While the Matrix speller's performance was significantly reliant on early, gaze-dependent Visual Evoked Potentials (VEPs), the RSVP speller depended only on the space-independent P300b. However, there was a cost to true spatial independence: the RSVP speller was less efficient in terms of spelling speed.

CONCLUSIONS: The advantage of space independence in the RSVP speller was concomitant with a marked reduction in spelling efficiency. Nevertheless, with key improvements to the RSVP design, truly space-independent BCIs could approach efficiencies on par with the Matrix speller. With sufficiently high letter spelling rates fused with predictive language modelling, they would be viable for potential applications with patients unable to direct overt visual gaze or covert attentional focus.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation
Issue number82
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2013


  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Humans


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