Comparison of feature selection methods for robust dexterous decoding of finger movements from the primary motor cortex of a non-human primate using support vector machine

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Robust and stable decoding of neural signals is imperative for implementing a useful neuroprosthesis capable of carrying out dexterous tasks. A nonhuman primate (NHP) was trained to perform combined flexions of the thumb, index and middle fingers in addition to

Robust and stable decoding of neural signals is imperative for implementing a useful neuroprosthesis capable of carrying out dexterous tasks. A nonhuman primate (NHP) was trained to perform combined flexions of the thumb, index and middle fingers in addition to individual flexions and extensions of the same digits. An array of microelectrodes was implanted in the hand area of the motor cortex of the NHP and used to record action potentials during finger movements. A Support Vector Machine (SVM) was used to classify which finger movement the NHP was making based upon action potential firing rates. The effect of four feature selection techniques, Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Relative Importance, Principal Component Analysis, and Mutual Information Maximization was compared based on SVM classification performance. SVM classification was used to examine the functional parameters of (i) efficacy (ii) endurance to simulated failure and (iii) longevity of classification. The effect of using isolated-neuron and multi-unit firing rates was compared as the feature vector supplied to the SVM. The best classification performance was on post-implantation day 36, when using multi-unit firing rates the worst classification accuracy resulted from features selected with Wilcoxon signed-rank test (51.12 ± 0.65%) and the best classification accuracy resulted from Mutual Information Maximization (93.74 ± 0.32%). On this day when using single-unit firing rates, the classification accuracy from the Wilcoxon signed-rank test was 88.85 ± 0.61 % and Mutual Information Maximization was 95.60 ± 0.52% (degrees of freedom =10, level of chance =10%)