Brain Computer Interfaces for Communication in Paralysis: a Clinical-Experimental Approach.

TitleBrain Computer Interfaces for Communication in Paralysis: a Clinical-Experimental Approach.
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHinterberger, T, Nijboer, F, Kübler, A, Matuz, T, Furdea, A, Mochty, U, Jordan, M, Lal, TN, Hill, N Jeremy, Mellinger, J, Bensch, M, Tangermann, M, Widmann, G, Elger, C, Rosenstiel, W, Schölkopf, B, Birbaumer, N
PublisherVirtual Library of Psychology at Saarland University and State Library, GERMANY, PsyDok [] (Germany)
ISBN Number9780262256049
Keywordsbrain-computer interfaces, EEG, experiment, Medical sciences Medicine, paralyzed patients, slow cortical potentials, Thought-Translation Device

An overview of different approaches to brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) developed in our laboratory is given. An important clinical application of BCIs is to enable communication or environmental control in severely paralyzed patients. The BCI “Thought-Translation Device (TTD)” allows verbal communication through the voluntary self-regulation of brain signals (e.g., slow cortical potentials (SCPs)), which is achieved by operant feedback training. Humans' ability to self-regulate their SCPs is used to move a cursor toward a target that contains a selectable letter set. Two different approaches were followed to developWeb browsers that could be controlled with binary brain responses. Implementing more powerful classification methods including different signal parameters such as oscillatory features improved our BCI considerably. It was also tested on signals with implanted electrodes. Most BCIs provide the user with a visual feedback interface. Visually impaired patients require an auditory feedback mode. A procedure using auditory (sonified) feedback of multiple EEG parameters was evaluated. Properties of the auditory systems are reported and the results of two experiments with auditory feedback are presented. Clinical data of eight ALS patients demonstrated that all patients were able to acquire efficient brain control of one of the three available BCI systems (SCP, µ-rhythm, and P300), most of them used the SCP-BCI. A controlled comparison of the three systems in a group of ALS patients, however, showed that P300-BCI and the µ-BCI are faster and more easily acquired than SCP-BCI, at least in patients with some rudimentary motor control left. Six patients who started BCI training after entering the completely locked-in state did not achieve reliable communication skills with any BCI system. One completely locked-in patient was able t o communicate shortly with a ph-meter, but lost control afterward.


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