Adaptive Assistance for Brain-Computer Interfaces by Online Prediction of Command Reliability
One of the challenges of using brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) over extended periods of time is the variation of the users' performance across different experimental days. The goal of the current study is to propose a performance estimator for an electroencephalography-based motor imagery BCI by assessing the reliability of a command (i.e., predicting a 'short' or 'long' command delivery time, CDT). Using a short time window (< 1.5 s, shorter than the delivery time) of the mental task execution and a linear discriminant analysis classifier, we could reliably differentiate between long and short CDT (AUC around 0.8) for 9 healthy subjects. Moreover, we assessed the feasibility of providing online adaptive assistance using the performance estimator in a BCI game, comparing two conditions: (i) allowing a 'fixed timeout' to deliver each command or (ii) providing 'adaptive assistance' by giving more time if the performance estimator detects a long CDT. The results revealed that providing adaptive assistance increases the ratio of correct commands significantly (p < 0.01). Moreover, the task load index (measured via the NASA TLX questionnaire) shows a significantly higher user acceptance in case of providing adaptive assistance (p < 0.01). Furthermore, the results obtained in this study were used to simulate a robotic navigation scenario, which showed how adaptive assistance improved performance.