Motion-induced artifacts can significantly corrupt optical neuroimaging, as in most neuroimaging modalities. For high-density diffuse optical tomography (HD-DOT) with hundreds to thousands of source-detector pair measurements, motion detection methods are underdeveloped relative to both functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and standard functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). This limitation restricts the application of HD-DOT in many challenging imaging situations and subject populations (e.g., bedside monitoring and children). Here, we evaluated a new motion detection method for multi-channel optical imaging systems that leverages spatial patterns across measurement channels. Specifically, we introduced a global variance of temporal derivatives (GVTD) metric as a motion detection index. We showed that GVTD strongly correlates with external measures of motion and has high sensitivity and specificity to instructed motion—with an area under the receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.88, calculated based on five different types of instructed motion. Additionally, we showed that applying GVTD-based motion censoring on both hearing words task and resting state HD-DOT data with natural head motion results in an improved spatial similarity to fMRI mapping. We then compared the GVTD similarity scores with several commonly used motion correction methods described in the fNIRS literature, including correlation-based signal improvement (CBSI), temporal derivative distribution repair (TDDR), wavelet filtering, and targeted principal component analysis (tPCA). We find that GVTD motion censoring on HD-DOT data outperforms other methods and results in spatial maps more similar to those of matched fMRI data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4093-4112
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • functional near-infrared spectroscopy
  • high-density diffuse optical tomography
  • motion artifact
  • motion censoring
  • optical neuroimaging


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