PLOS ONE, vol.17, no.4, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
The event related P300 potentials, positive waveforms in electroencephalography (EEG) signals, are often utilized in brain computer interfaces (BCI). Many studies have been carried out to improve the performance of P300 speller systems either by developing signal processing algorithms and classifiers with different architectures or by designing new paradigms. In this study, a new paradigm is proposed for this purpose. The proposed paradigm combines two remarkable properties of being a 3D animation and utilizing column-only flashings as opposed to classical paradigms which are based on row-column flashings in 2D manner. The new paradigm is utilized in a traditional two-layer artificial neural networks model with a single output neuron, and numerous experiments are conducted to evaluate and compare the performance of the proposed paradigm with that of the classical approach. The experimental results, including statistical significance tests, are presented for single and multiple EEG electrode usage combinations in 1, 3 and 15 flashing repetitions to detect P300 waves as well as to recognize target characters. Using the proposed paradigm, the best average classification accuracy rates on the test data are improved from 89.97% to 93.90% (an improvement of 4.36%) for 1 flashing, from 97.11% to 98.10% (an improvement of 1.01%) for 3 flashings and from 99.70% to 99.81% (an improvement of 0.11%) for 15 flashings when all electrodes, included in the study, are utilized. On the other hand, the accuracy rates are improved by 9.69% for 1 flashing, 4.72% for 3 flashings and 1.73% for 15 flashings when the proposed paradigm is utilized with a single EEG electrode (P8). It is observed that the proposed speller paradigm is especially useful in BCI systems designed for few EEG electrodes usage, and hence, it is more suitable for practical implementations. Moreover, all participants, given a subjective test, declared that the proposed paradigm is more user-friendly than classical ones.