Cortically-coupled computer vision for rapid image search

We describe a real-time electroencephalography (EEG)-based brain-computer interface system for triaging imagery presented using rapid serial visual presentation. A target image in a sequence of nontarget distractor images elicits in the EEG a stereotypical spatiotemporal response, which can be detected. A pattern classifier uses this response to reprioritize the image sequence, placing detected targets in the front of an image stack. We use single-trial analysis based on linear discrimination to recover spatial components that reflect differences in EEG activity evoked by target versus nontarget images. We find an optimal set of spatial weights for 59 EEG sensors within a sliding 50-ms time window. Using this simple classifier allows us to process EEG in real time. The detection accuracy across five subjects is on average 92%, i.e., in a sequence of 2500 images, resorting images based on detector output results in 92% of target images being moved from a random position in the sequence to one of the first 250 images (first 10% of the sequence). The approach leverages the highly robust and invariant object recognition capabilities of the human visual system, using single-trial EEG analysis to efficiently detect neural signatures correlated with the recognition event.

Available Online
Accepted 19 June 2006
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