A method for optimizing EEG electrode number and configuration for signal acquisition in P300 speller systems

William Speier, Aniket Deshpande, Nader Pouratian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: The P300 speller is intended to restore communication to patients with advanced neuromuscular disorders, but clinical implementation may be hindered by several factors, including system setup, burden, and cost. Our goal was to develop a method that can overcome these barriers by optimizing EEG electrode number and placement for P300 studies within a population of subjects. Methods: A Gibbs sampling method was developed to find the optimal electrode configuration given a set of P300 speller data. The method was tested on a set of data from 15 healthy subjects using an established 32-electrode pattern. Resulting electrode configurations were then validated using online prospective testing with a naïve Bayes classifier in 15 additional healthy subjects. Results: The method yielded a set of four posterior electrodes (PO8, PO7, POZ, CPZ), which produced results that are likely sufficient to be clinically effective. In online prospective validation testing, no significant difference was found between subjects' performances using the reduced and the full electrode configurations. Conclusions: The proposed method can find reduced sets of electrodes within a subject population without reducing performance. Significance: Reducing the number of channels may reduce costs, set-up time, signal bandwidth, and computation requirements for practical online P300 speller implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1171-1177
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain-computer interface
  • Electrode placement
  • Event-related potential
  • Natural language processing
  • P300
  • Speller

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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