Effects of tDCS on Real-Time BCI Detection of Pedaling Motor Imagery

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Apr 8;18(4):1136. doi: 10.3390/s18041136.


The purpose of this work is to strengthen the cortical excitability over the primary motor cortex (M1) and the cerebro-cerebellar pathway by means of a new transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) configuration to detect lower limb motor imagery (MI) in real time using two different cognitive neural states: relax and pedaling MI. The anode is located over the primary motor cortex in Cz, and the cathode over the right cerebro-cerebellum. The real-time brain-computer interface (BCI) designed is based on finding, for each electrode selected, the power at the particular frequency where the most difference between the two mental tasks is observed. Electroencephalographic (EEG) electrodes are placed over the brain's premotor area (PM), M1, supplementary motor area (SMA) and primary somatosensory cortex (S1). A single-blind study is carried out, where fourteen healthy subjects are separated into two groups: sham and active tDCS. Each subject is experimented on for five consecutive days. On all days, the results achieved by the active tDCS group were over 60% in real-time detection accuracy, with a five-day average of 62.6%. The sham group eventually reached those levels of accuracy, but it needed three days of training to do so.

Keywords: brain–computer interface (BCI); cerebro-cerebellar pathway; pedaling motor imagery; real-time; transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).