Classification of somatosensory cortex activities using fNIRS

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Abstract

The ability of the somatosensory cortex in differentiating various tactile sensations is very important for a person to perceive the surrounding environment. In this study, we utilize a lab-made multi-channel functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to discriminate the hemodynamic responses (HRs) of four different tactile stimulations (handshake, ball grasp, poking, and cold temperature) applied to the right hand of eight healthy male subjects. The activated brain areas per stimulation are identified with the t-values between the measured data and the desired hemodynamic response function. Linear discriminant analysis is utilized to classify the acquired data into four classes based on three features (mean, peak value, and skewness) of the associated oxy-hemoglobin (HbO) signals. The HRs evoked by the handshake and poking stimulations showed higher peak values in HbO than the ball grasp and cold temperature stimulations. For comparison purposes, additional two-class classifications of poking vs. temperature and handshake vs. ball grasp were performed. The attained classification accuracies were higher than the corresponding chance levels. Our results indicate that fNIRS can be used as an objective measure discriminating different tactile stimulations from the somatosensory cortex of human brain.

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