An analytical comparison of the information in sorted and non-sorted cosine-tuned spike activity.
Spike sorting is a technologically expensive component of the signal processing chain required to interpret population spike activity acquired in a neuromotor prosthesis. No systematic analysis of the value of spike sorting has been carried out, and little is known about the effects of spike sorting error on the ability of a brain-machine interface (BMI) to decode intended motor commands. We developed a theoretical framework to examine the effects of spike processing on the information available to a BMI decoder. We computed the mutual information in neural activity in a simplified model of directional cosine tuning to compare the effects of pooling activity from up to four neurons to the effects of sorting with varying amounts of spike error. The results showed that information in a small population of cosine-tuned neurons is maximized when the responses are sorted and there is diverse tuning of units, but information was affected little when pooling units with similar preferred directions. Spike error had adverse effects on information, such that non-sorted population activity had 79-92% of the information in its sorted counterpart for reasonable amounts of detection and sorting error and for units with moderate differences in preferred direction. This quantification of information loss associated with pooling units and with spike detection and sorting error will help to guide the engineering decisions in designing a BMI spike processing system.
Won, DS; Tiesinga, PH; Henriquez, CS; Wolf, PD
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