Cascade and Parallel Convolutional Recurrent Neural Networks on EEG-based Intention Recognition for Brain Computer Interface

Dalin Zhang, Lina Yao, Xiang Zhang, Sen Wang, Weitong Chen, Robert Boots

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is a system empowering humans to communicate with or control the outside world with exclusively brain intentions. Electroencephalography (EEG) based BCIs are promising solutions due to their convenient and portable instruments. Motor imagery EEG (MI-EEG) is a kind of most widely focused EEG signals, which reveals a subjects movement intentions without actual actions. Despite the extensive research of MI-EEG in recent years, it is still challenging to interpret EEG signals effectively due to the massive noises in EEG signals (e.g., low signal noise ratio and incomplete EEG signals), and difficulties in capturing the inconspicuous relationships between EEG signals and certain brain activities. Most existing works either only consider EEG as chain-like sequences neglecting complex dependencies between adjacent signals or performing simple temporal averaging over EEG sequences. In this paper, we introduce both cascade and parallel convolutional recurrent neural network models for precisely identifying human intended movements by effectively learning compositional spatio-temporal representations of raw EEG streams. The proposed models grasp the spatial correlations between physically neighboring EEG signals by converting the chain like EEG sequences into a 2D mesh like hierarchy. An LSTM based recurrent network is able to extract the subtle temporal dependencies of EEG data streams. Extensive experiments on a large-scale MI-EEG dataset (108 subjects, 3,145,160 EEG records) have demonstrated that both models achieve high accuracy near 98.3% and outperform a set of baseline methods and most recent deep learning based EEG recognition models, yielding a significant accuracy increase of 18% in the cross-subject validation scenario.

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