- 1 Team PhyPA, Berlin Institute of Technology, Berlin, Germany
- 2 Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, Institute for Neural Computation, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
- 3 Brain Products, Gilching, Germany
- 4 Human Media Interaction, University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Although it ranks among the oldest tools in neuroscientific research, electroencephalography (EEG) still forms the method of choice in a wide variety of clinical and research applications. In the context of brain–computer interfacing (BCI), EEG recently has become a tool to enhance human–machine interaction. EEG could be employed in a wider range of environments, especially for the use of BCI systems in a clinical context or at the homes of patients. However, the application of EEG in these contexts is impeded by the cumbersome preparation of the electrodes with conductive gel that is necessary to lower the impedance between electrodes and scalp. Dry electrodes could provide a solution to this barrier and allow for EEG applications outside the laboratory. In addition, dry electrodes may reduce the time needed for neurological exams in clinical practice. This study evaluates a prototype of a three-channel dry electrode EEG system, comparing it to state-of-the-art conventional EEG electrodes. Two experimental paradigms were used: first, event-related potentials (ERP) were investigated with a variant of the oddball paradigm. Second, features of the frequency domain were compared by a paradigm inducing occipital alpha. Furthermore, both paradigms were used to evaluate BCI classification accuracies of both EEG systems. Amplitude and temporal structure of ERPs as well as features in the frequency domain did not differ significantly between the EEG systems. BCI classification accuracies were equally high in both systems when the frequency domain was considered. With respect to the oddball classification accuracy, there were slight differences between the wet and dry electrode systems. We conclude that the tested dry electrodes were capable to detect EEG signals with good quality and that these signals can be used for research or BCI applications. Easy to handle electrodes may help to foster the use of EEG among a wider range of potential users.