Journal of Neural Engineering
Ilya Makarov Alexey Ossadtchi Ilia Semenkov Nikita Fedosov

Real-time low latency estimation of brain rhythms with deep neural networks


Objective. Neurofeedback and brain-computer interfacing technology open the exciting opportunity for establishing interactive closed-loop real-time communication with the human brain. This requires interpreting brain's rhythmic activity and generating timely feedback to the brain. Lower delay between neuronal events and the appropriate feedback increase the efficacy of such interaction. Novel more efficient approaches capable of tracking brain rhythm's phase and envelope are needed for scenarios that entail instantaneous interaction with the brain circuits. Approach. Isolating narrow-band signals incurs fundamental delays. To some extent they can be compensated using forecasting models. Given the high quality of modern time series forecasting neural networks we explored their utility for low-latency extraction of brain rhythm parameters. We tested five neural networks with conceptually distinct architectures in forecasting synthetic EEG rhythms. The strongest architecture was trained to simultaneously filter and forecast EEG data. We compared it against state-of-the-art techniques using synthetic and real data from 25 subjects. Main results. The Temporal Convolutional Network (TCN) remained the strongest forecasting model that achieved in the majority of testing scenarios >90% rhythm's envelope correlation with <10 ms effective delay and <20° circular standard deviation of phase estimates. It also remained stable enough to noise level perturbations. Trained to filter and predict the TCN outperformed the cFIR, the Kalman filter based state-space estimation technique and remained on par with the larger Conv-TasNet architecture. Significance. Here we have for the first time demonstrated the utility of the neural network approach for low-latency narrow-band filtering of brain activity signals. Our proposed approach coupled with efficient implementation enhances the effectiveness of brain-state dependent paradigms across various applications. Moreover, our framework for forecasting EEG signals holds promise for investigating the predictability of brain activity, providing valuable insights into the fundamental questions surrounding the functional organization and hierarchical information processing properties of the brain.