An MEG-Compatible Electromagnetic-Tracking System for Monitoring Orofacial Kinematics

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2016 Aug;63(8):1709-17. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2015.2500102. Epub 2015 Nov 11.


We describe a novel motion-tracking system, called MASK (magnetoarticulography for the assessment of speech kinematics) designed to track detailed orofacial movements during magnetoencephalographic (MEG) measures of human brain activity. A three-dimensional electromagnetic-tracking method was employed using lightweight coils energized with high-frequency sinusoidal currents, creating magnetic dipoles that can be continuously localized by the MEG sensors. In addition to being compatible with commercial MEG devices, this system has advantages over optical or video methods in that it can record nonline-of-sight movements (e.g., tongue movements) and advantages over surface electromyographic recordings, which are prone to movement-related artifacts and signal crosstalk. Static and dynamic tracking accuracy was evaluated using calibration devices with fixed intercoil distances. MEG data were collected in two healthy adult volunteers to test feasibility of tracking movements during tongue and facial movement, and during overt speech. The MASK system was shown to have sufficient static and dynamic accuracy to track orofacial movements within the MEG helmet. We successfully acquired spatially precise kinematic information time-locked to brain activity with high temporal resolution. We demonstrated successful tracking of oromotor and speech movements together with brain activity using the MASK system. This novel technology will provide an innovative tool in support of research and clinical applications for individuals with speech and other oromotor disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Face / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods*
  • Mouth / physiology*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Speech / physiology