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Thinking Penguin: Multimodal Brain–Computer Interface Control of a VR Game

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5 Author(s)
Robert Leeb ; Center for Neuroprosthetics, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland ; Marcel Lancelle ; Vera Kaiser ; Dieter W. Fellner
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In this paper, we describe a multimodal brain-computer interface (BCI) experiment, situated in a highly immersive CAVE. A subject sitting in the virtual environment controls the main character of a virtual reality game: a penguin that slides down a snowy mountain slope. While the subject can trigger a jump action via the BCI, additional steering with a game controller as a secondary task was tested. Our experiment profits from the game as an attractive task where the subject is motivated to get a higher score with a better BCI performance. A BCI based on the so-called brain switch was applied, which allows discrete asynchronous actions. Fourteen subjects participated, of which 50% achieved the required performance to test the penguin game. Comparing the BCI performance during the training and the game showed that a transfer of skills is possible, in spite of the changes in visual complexity and task demand. Finally and most importantly, our results showed that the use of a secondary motor task, in our case the joystick control, did not deteriorate the BCI performance during the game. Through these findings, we conclude that our chosen approach is a suitable multimodal or hybrid BCI implementation, in which the user can even perform other tasks in parallel.

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IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games  (Volume:5 ,  Issue: 2 )