Document Type

Theses, Ph.D

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This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Abstract

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is a subconscious system within the peripheral nervous system that controls such things as heart rate, respiration, baroreceptor control, sweating, and regulation of internal organs. Certain aspects of this system can be under conscious control given time and practices. The ANS may be further divided into two subsections, namely the Sympathetic (Fight or Flight) and Parasympathetic ( Rest and Digest) nervous system. These systems work symbiotically; however they have almost opposite effects on organs within the body. Within this project a compelling biofeedback game was built with a protocol whereby the users used their relaxation as a driving mechanism in order to open a locked door. This game was driven using the biometrics of Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and Electroencephalogram (EEG) as a measurement of relaxation. In addition to this the additional biometric of Heart Rate (HR) was also taken. HR and GSR both have characteristics which show the interrelationship between sympathetic and parasympathetic activity. This thesis explored time-frequency algorithms in order to firstly turn a two dimensional signal into a three dimensional energy representation to reveal more information about the degree of which system predominated per unit time. From here a successful attempt was made to relate HR and GSR to one another in a time frequency domain. It was also shown that the alternation between sympathetic and parasympathetic could be observed in the cross time-frequency domain. This exploration was made using 16 test subjects playing the game.

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