User Tutorial:Obtaining Mu Rhythm Parameters in an Initial Session

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Although the basic properties of the Mu rhythm are identical for all humans, spatial patterns and exact frequencies are different across people. Thus, it is necessary to obtain these individual parameters prior to any feedback experiments, i.e., to calibrate the BCI system using data acquired from an initial session.

Experimental Design

In this initial session, the subject is instructed to incorporate hand and/or foot movements in response to visual cues. To identify a subject's Mu Rhythm, offline analyses then determine the frequency and location whose activity changes the most across conditions (e.g., hand movement and rest). These analyses result in spectra calculated at different locations or in topographical plots at particular frequencies. For the purpose of conceptual demonstration, the tutorial will mainly focus on one dimension control (up and down of a cursor) using hand movements. Once familiarized, one can then engage foot movements for more tasks.

Preparing for the Initial (Screening) Session

To begin, you first need to gather some system data. This tutorial will assume that you will be using a dual-monitor setup as shown below, with the experimenter of the sessions operating on monitor 1, and the subject will be watching monitor 2.

Open Display Properties by right-clicking on an empty portion of the desktop and clicking Properties, and navigating to the Settings tab.

Make sure that Monitor 2, (which displays the instructions to the subject), is on the right of Monitor 1, (the experimenter's screen), and is aligned along the top.
What we need to make a note of is the width of monitor 1, and the width and height of monitor 2.
In this example we see that Monitor 1 is 1920 pixels wide, and monitor 2 is 1600 pixels wide by 900 pixels tall.

Connect your amplifier to the computer, and turn it on.

If your amplifier is from the gUSBamp family, drivers can be downloaded from official website of gtec. In this example we are using a gUSBamp-8 amplifier.

If your amplifier is from the gMOBIlab family, you will need to make a note of the port it is connected to. In order to determine that port, in Windows XP, go to the Windows Start Menu, and choose Start → Control Panel → System → Hardware → Device Manager → Ports (COM & LPT). Different versions of Windows may have the Device Manager in a different location.

You can now close all open windows.

Configuring BCI2000

  • When you are using a source module that is not part of the BCI2000 core distribution, you will need to create a batch file and parameter file for your amplifier first. Please follow the steps described on this page.
  • Start BCI2000 by double-clicking batch/StimulusPresentation_<YourAmplifier>.bat.
    • For repeated use, placing a link to this file on the desktop might be a good idea.
  • In the operator module, click Config.
  • Click Load Parameters, and load parms/examples/SMR_screening_left_vs_right.prm. Then, load parms/fragments/amplifiers/<YourAmplifier>.prm.
  • In the Storage tab:
    • Set SubjectName to the subject’s initials.
    • Set SubjectSession to 001
    • Set SubjectRun to 01

In the Source tab, set:

  • ChannelNames to the electrode positions according to the 10-20 convention.
    • This names the channels according to their respective electrode positions.
    • In our example, F3 F4 T7 C3 Cz C4 T8 Pz has been entered.
  • TransmitChList to the channel names entered into the ChannelNames parameter
  • If using a gMOBIlab amplifier, set COM port to the port name that you found earlier.

In the Application tab, set:

  • WindowWidth to the width of the display monitor, found earlier.
  • WindowHeight to the height of the display monitor, found earlier.
    • In our example, WindowWidth would be set to 1600 and WindowHeight would be set to 900.
  • WindowLeft to the width of the experimenter’s monitor.
    • In our example, this would be 1920.
    • This shifts the character display to the right 1920 pixels, making it display on the secondary monitor.
  • Take note of the Sequence field:
    • This field contains four single-digit numbers separated by one space. Initially it will be 1 1 0 0.
    • These numbers are frequencies of calling for the different subject activity. The first number corresponds to the left hand, the second is the right hand, the third for both hands, the fourth for both feet (details can be inspected under StimuliEdit).
    • Therefore, setting this field to 2 1 0 1 will call for the subject to move the left hand twice as often as the right or both feet, and will never call for both hands to be moved. In our example, 1 1 0 0 (equally distributed left and right hand) is recommended as a initial session.
  • Finally, save the parameter file where you deem appropriate.
  • Click Set Config.
  • Instruct the subject as described in the section below.

Instructions to the Subject

During the initial session, the subject's screen will either be blank, or displaying a command of left or right.

  • When a left or right command is displayed, engage movement of the respective hand. It is recommended that the movement be continuous opening and closing of the hand (e.g., squeezing a tennis ball) at a rate of about one opening/closing per second.

For future sessions with hands and feet involved,the subject's screen will either be blank, or displaying an arrow pointing up, down, left, or right.

  • When an up arrow is displayed, engage simultaneous movement of both hands. This should be the same kind of movement as described for a single hand.
  • When a down arrow is displayed, engage movements of both feet. The movement should be similar to the one described for hands, i.e., opening and closing your feet as if you could use them to grip an object.
  • When you see a blank screen, please relax and stop any movement. This is crucial as it takes time for mu rhythm to settle and ready for the next peak.

Performing the Initial Session

To start an experimental run, click Run in the operator window. Each run takes five minutes and gathers 25 data points, or "trials", that differentiate between moving the left hand and the right hand. Ideally, there should be 100 trials, meaning that four runs are suggested. This is done as four separate runs instead of one to allow the subject a chance between each run to rest, blink, swallow, speak, or have some water if so desired.


Next Step

Once all data have been collected, the Analyzing the Initial Mu Rhythm Session page shows you how to analyze data from the initial session in order to determine parameters for online feedback.

See also

User Tutorial:Mu Rhythm BCI Tutorial