Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Walter Besio


For generations, humans dreamed about the ability to communicate and interact with machines through thought alone or to create devices that can peer into a person’s mind and thoughts. Researchers have developed new technologies to create brain computer interfaces (BCIs), communication systems that do not depend on the brain’s normal output pathways of peripheral nerves and muscles. The objective of the first part of this thesis is to develop a new BCI based on electroencephalography (EEG) to move a computer cursor over a short training period in real time. The work motivations of this part are to increase: speed and accuracy, as in BCI settings, subject has a few seconds to make a selection with a relatively high accuracy.

Recently, improvements have been developed to make EEG more accurate by increasing the spatial resolution. One such improvement is the application of the surface Laplacian to the EEG, the second spatial derivative. Tripolar concentric ring electrodes (TCREs) automatically perform the Laplacian on the surface potentials and provide better spatial selectivity and signal-to-noise ratio than conventional EEG that is recorded with conventional disc electrodes. Another important feature using TCRE is the capability to record the EEG and the TCRE EEG (tEEG) signals concurrently from the same location on the scalp for the same electrical activity coming from the brain. In this part we also demonstrate that tEEG signals can enable users to control a computer cursor rapidly in different directions with significantly higher accuracy during their first session of training for 1D and 2D cursor control.

Output tracking control of non-minimum phase systems is a highly challenging problem encountered in many practical engineering applications. Classical inversion techniques provide exact output tracking but lead to internal instability, whereas modern inversion methods provide stable asymptotic tracking but produce large transient errors. Both methods provide an approximation of feedback control, which leads to non robust systems, very sensitive to noise, considerable tracking errors and a significant singularity problem. Aiming at the problem of system inversion to the true system, the objective of the second part of this thesis is to develop a new method based on true inversion for minimum phase system and approximate inversion for non-minimum phase systems. The proposed algorithm is automatic and has minimal computational complexities which make it suitable for real-time control.

The process to develop the proposed algorithm is partitioned into (1) minimum phase feedforward inverse filter, and (2) non-minimum phase inversion. In a minimum phase inversion, we consider the design of a feedforward controller to invert the response of a feedback loop that has stable zero locations. The complete control system consists of a feedforward controller cascaded with a closed-loop system. The outputs of the resulting inverse filter are delayed versions of the corresponding reference input signals, and delays are given by the vector relative degree of the closed-loop.