Recently, electroencephalogram (EEG)-based brain- computer interfaces (BCIs) have become a hot spot in the study of neural engineering, rehabilitation, and brain science. In this article, we review BCI systems based on visual evoked potentials (VEPs). Although the performance of this type of BCI has already been evaluated by many research groups through a variety of laboratory demonstrations, researchers are still facing many difficulties in changing the demonstrations to practically applicable systems. On the basis of the literature, we describe the challenges in developing practical BCI systems. Also, our recent work in the designs and implementations of the BCI systems based on steady-state VEPs (SSVEPs) is described in detail. The results show that by adequately considering the problems encountered in system design, signal processing, and parameter optimization, SSVEPs can provide the most useful information about brain activities using the least number of electrodes. At the same time, system cost could be greatly decreased and usability could be readily improved, thus benefiting the implementation of a practical BCI.