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An optical brain computer interface for environmental control

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4 Author(s)
Ayaz, H. ; Sch. of Biomed. Eng. Sci. & Health Syst., Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, PA, USA ; Shewokis, P.A. ; Bunce, S. ; Onaral, B.

A brain computer interface (BCI) is a system that translates neurophysiological signals detected from the brain to supply input to a computer or to control a device. Volitional control of neural activity and its real-time detection through neuroimaging modalities are key constituents of BCI systems. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a new BCI design that utilizes intention-related cognitive activity within the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex using functional near infrared (fNIR) spectroscopy. fNIR is a noninvasive, safe, portable and affordable optical technique with which to monitor hemodynamic changes, in the brain's cerebral cortex. Because of its portability and ease of use, fNIR is amenable to deployment in ecologically valid natural working environments. We integrated a control paradigm in a computerized 3D virtual environment to augment interactivity. Ten healthy participants volunteered for a two day study in which they navigated a virtual environment with keyboard inputs, but were required to use the fNIR-BCI for interaction with virtual objects. Results showed that participants consistently utilized the fNIR-BCI with an overall success rate of 84% and volitionally increased their cerebral oxygenation level to trigger actions within the virtual environment.

Published in:

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC, 2011 Annual International Conference of the IEEE

Date of Conference:

Aug. 30 2011-Sept. 3 2011