Brain-computer interfacing under distraction: An evaluation study

Stephanie Brandl, Laura Frølich, Johannes Höhne, Klaus Robert Müller, Wojciech Samek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. While motor-imagery based brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have been studied over many years by now, most of these studies have taken place in controlled lab settings. Bringing BCI technology into everyday life is still one of the main challenges in this field of research. Approach. This paper systematically investigates BCI performance under 6 types of distractions that mimic out-of-lab environments. Main results. We report results of 16 participants and show that the performance of the standard common spatial patterns (CSP) + regularized linear discriminant analysis classification pipeline drops significantly in this 'simulated' out-of-lab setting. We then investigate three methods for improving the performance: (1) artifact removal, (2) ensemble classification, and (3) a 2-step classification approach. While artifact removal does not enhance the BCI performance significantly, both ensemble classification and the 2-step classification combined with CSP significantly improve the performance compared to the standard procedure. Significance. Systematically analyzing out-of-lab scenarios is crucial when bringing BCI into everyday life. Algorithms must be adapted to overcome nonstationary environments in order to tackle real-world challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056012
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 31

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Adaptive BCI (FKZ 01GQ1115) and by the Brain Korea 21 Plus Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • brain-computer interfacing
  • common spatial patterns
  • nonstationarity
  • robustness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Brain-computer interfacing under distraction: An evaluation study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this