An SSVEP-actuated brain computer interface using phase-tagged flickering sequences: A cursor system

Po Lei Lee*, Jyun Jie Sie, Yu Ju Liu, Chi Hsun Wu, Ming Huan Lee, Chih Hung Shu, Po Hung Li, Chia-Wei Sun, Kuo Kai Shyu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


This study presents a new steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP)-based brain computer interface (BCI). SSVEPs, induced by phase-tagged flashes in eight light emitting diodes (LEDs), were used to control four cursor movements (up, right, down, and left) and four button functions (on, off, right-, and left-clicks) on a screen menu. EEG signals were measured by one EEG electrode placed at Oz position, referring to the international EEG 10-20 system. Since SSVEPs are time-locked and phase-locked to the onsets of SSVEP flashes, EEG signals were bandpass-filtered and segmented into epochs, and then averaged across a number of epochs to sharpen the recorded SSVEPs. Phase lags between the measured SSVEPs and a reference SSVEP were measured, and targets were recognized based on these phase lags. The current design used eight LEDs to flicker at 31.25 Hz with 45° phase margin between any two adjacent SSVEP flickers. The SSVEP responses were filtered within 29.25-33.25 Hz and then averaged over 60 epochs. Owing to the utilization of high-frequency flickers, the induced SSVEPs were away from low-frequency noises, 60 Hz electricity noise, and eye movement artifacts. As a consequence, we achieved a simple architecture that did not require eye movement monitoring or other artifact detection and removal. The high-frequency design also achieved a flicker fusion effect for better visualization. Seven subjects were recruited in this study to sequentially input a command sequence, consisting of a sequence of eight cursor functions, repeated three times. The accuracy and information transfer rate (mean ± SD) over the seven subjects were 93.14 ± 5.73% and 28.29 ± 12.19 bits/min, respectively. The proposed system can provide a reliable channel for severely disabled patients to communicate with external environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2383-2397
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2010


  • Brain-computer interface (BCI)
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Phase-tagged flickering sequence
  • Steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP)


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