A Configurable, Inexpensive, Portable, Multi-channel, Multi-frequency, Multi-chromatic RGB LED System for SSVEP Stimulation

  • Surej Mouli
  • Ramaswamy Palaniappan
  • Ian P. Sillitoe
Part of the Intelligent Systems Reference Library book series (ISRL, volume 74)


Steady state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) is extensively used in the research of brain-computer interface (BCI) and require a controllable and configurable light source. SSVEP requires appropriate control of visual stimulus parameters, such as flicker frequency, light intensity, multi-frequency light source and multi-spectral compositions. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are extensively used as a light source as they are energy efficient, low power, multi-chromatic, have higher contrast, and support wider frequency ranges. Here, we present the design of a compact versatile visual stimulus which is capable of producing simultaneous multiple frequency RGB LED flicker suitable for a wide range of SSVEP paradigms. The hardware is based upon the open source Arduino platform and supports on-the-fly reprogramming with easily configurable user interface via USB. The design provides fourteen independent high output channels with customisable output voltages. The flicker frequencies can be easily customised within the frequency range of 5–50 Hz, using a look-up table. The LED flickers are generated with single RGB LEDs which generate the required colour or frequency combinations for combined multi-frequency flicker with variable duty cycle to generate SSVEP. Electroencephalogram (EEG) signals have been successfully recorded from five subjects using the stimulator for different frequencies, colours, duty cycle, intensity and multiple frequency RGB source, thereby demonstrating the high usability, adaptability and flexibility of the stimulator. Finally we discuss the possible improvements to the stimulator which could provide real time user feedback to reduce visual fatigue and so increase the level of user comfort.


Brain-computer interface Electroencephalogram LED Steady-state visual evoked potential 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Surej Mouli
    • 1
  • Ramaswamy Palaniappan
    • 2
  • Ian P. Sillitoe
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EngineeringUniversity of WolverhamptonTelfordUK
  2. 2.School of ComputingUniversity of KentMedwayUK

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