Using Variable Natural Environment Brain-Computer Interface Stimuli for Real-time Humanoid Robot Navigation

Nik Khadijah Nik Aznan, Jason D. Connolly, Noura Al Moubayed, Toby P. Breckon

This paper addresses the challenge of humanoid robot teleoperation in a natural indoor environment via a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI). We leverage deep Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) based image and signal understanding to facilitate both real-time bject detection and dry-Electroencephalography (EEG) based human cortical brain bio-signals decoding. We employ recent advances in dry-EEG technology to stream and collect the cortical waveforms from subjects while they fixate on variable Steady State Visual Evoked Potential (SSVEP) stimuli generated directly from the environment the robot is navigating. To these ends, we propose the use of novel variable BCI stimuli by utilising the real-time video streamed via the on-board robot camera as visual input for SSVEP, where the CNN detected natural scene objects are altered and flickered with differing frequencies (10Hz, 12Hz and 15Hz). These stimuli are not akin to traditional stimuli - as both the dimensions of the flicker regions and their on-screen position changes depending on the scene objects detected. On-screen object selection via such a dry-EEG enabled SSVEP methodology, facilitates the on-line decoding of human cortical brain signals, via a specialised secondary CNN, directly into teleoperation robot commands (approach object, move in a specific direction: right, left or back). This SSVEP decoding model is trained via a priori offline experimental data in which very similar visual input is present for all subjects. The resulting classification demonstrates high performance with mean accuracy of 85% for the real-time robot navigation experiment across multiple test subjects.

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