Induction and separation of motion artifacts in EEG data using a mobile phantom head device

J Neural Eng. 2016 Jun;13(3):036014. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/13/3/036014. Epub 2016 May 3.


Objective: Electroencephalography (EEG) can assess brain activity during whole-body motion in humans but head motion can induce artifacts that obfuscate electrocortical signals. Definitive solutions for removing motion artifact from EEG have yet to be found, so creating methods to assess signal processing routines for removing motion artifact are needed. We present a novel method for investigating the influence of head motion on EEG recordings as well as for assessing the efficacy of signal processing approaches intended to remove motion artifact.

Approach: We used a phantom head device to mimic electrical properties of the human head with three controlled dipolar sources of electrical activity embedded in the phantom. We induced sinusoidal vertical motions on the phantom head using a custom-built platform and recorded EEG signals with three different acquisition systems while the head was both stationary and in varied motion conditions.

Main results: Recordings showed up to 80% reductions in signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and up to 3600% increases in the power spectrum as a function of motion amplitude and frequency. Independent component analysis (ICA) successfully isolated the three dipolar sources across all conditions and systems. There was a high correlation (r > 0.85) and marginal increase in the independent components' (ICs) power spectrum (∼15%) when comparing stationary and motion parameters. The SNR of the IC activation was 400%-700% higher in comparison to the channel data SNR, attenuating the effects of motion on SNR.

Significance: Our results suggest that the phantom head and motion platform can be used to assess motion artifact removal algorithms and compare different EEG systems for motion artifact sensitivity. In addition, ICA is effective in isolating target electrocortical events and marginally improving SNR in relation to stationary recordings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artifacts*
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Head*
  • Humans
  • Manikins
  • Motion*
  • Phantoms, Imaging*
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Walking / physiology