Local field potentials for BCI control

Dustin A. Heldman, Daniel W. Moran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The gold standard in brain-computer interface (BCI) modalities is multi single-unit recordings in the primary motor cortex. It yields the fastest and most elegant control (i.e., most degrees of freedom and bitrate). Unfortunately, single-unit electrodes are prone to encapsulation, which limit their single-unit recording life. However, encapsulation does not significantly affect intracortical local field potentials (LFPs). LFPs and single-unit activity were recorded from the motor cortices of three monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) while they performed a standard 3D center-out reaching task and a 3D circle-drawing task. The high frequency (HF) (60–200 Hz) spectral amplitudes of a subset of the LFPs were found to be directionally tuned much like single units. In fact, stable isolation of single units on the same electrode increased the likelihood that the HF-LFP would be significantly cosine tuned to hand direction. The presence of significantly tuned single units further increased the likelihood of a tuned HF-LFP, suggesting that this band of HF-LFP activity is at least partially generated by local neuronal action potential currents (i.e., single-unit activity). Given that encapsulation makes recording single units over a long period of time difficult, these results suggest that HF-LFPs may be a more stable and efficient method of monitoring neural activity for BCI applications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752
ISSN (Electronic)2212-4152


  • BCI
  • LFP
  • Motor control
  • Neuroprosthetics


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