Human electrocortical dynamics while stepping over obstacles. Academic Article uri icon


  • To better understand human brain dynamics during visually guided locomotion, we developed a method of removing motion artifacts from mobile electroencephalography (EEG) and studied human subjects walking and running over obstacles on a treadmill. We constructed a novel dual-layer EEG electrode system to isolate electrocortical signals, and then validated the system using an electrical head phantom and robotic motion platform. We collected data from young healthy subjects walking and running on a treadmill while they encountered unexpected obstacles to step over. Supplementary motor area and premotor cortex had spectral power increases within ~200ms after object appearance in delta, theta, and alpha frequency bands (3-13Hz). That activity was followed by similar posterior parietal cortex spectral power increase that decreased in lag time with increasing locomotion speed. The sequence of activation suggests that supplementary motor area and premotor cortex interrupted the gait cycle, while posterior parietal cortex tracked obstacle location for planning foot placement nearly two steps ahead of reaching the obstacle. Together, these results highlight advantages of adopting dual-layer mobile EEG, which should greatly facilitate the study of human brain dynamics in physically active real-world settings and tasks.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 31.05

author list (cited authors)

  • Nordin, A. D., Hairston, W. D., & Ferris, D. P.

citation count

  • 66

complete list of authors

  • Nordin, Andrew D||Hairston, W David||Ferris, Daniel P

publication date

  • January 2019