object of the BBCI
project is to steer computers with thoughts. This
technology will allow heavily paralyzed people to use communication tools or
control wheel chairs. The researchers aspire to allow untrained people without
long training sessions to use this technology. This will be achieved by
measuring the brain waves in form of the electroencephalogram (EEG) with
electrodes attached to the scalp. The brain activity reflects already the
imagination of a behaviour. If the proband thinks of his hand, the cursor moves
up, if the thinks of this foot, it moves down. One of the main difficulties for
the researchers is correctly interpreting the very weak and noisy signals a
thought produces on the top of the scalp. Complex filter procedures have to be
programmed which can filter the decisive signals out of the data tangle.
this a phase of calibration lasting approximately half a hour is currently
needed, in which the system learns to correctly interpret the proband’s
signals. If this has been concluded, two thirds of probands are capable of
moving an icon on the screen in the desired direction simply through the power
of their thoughts.
exhibit shown here corresponds to the real arrangement of the experiment and is
based on data of real experiments. Pong was
used very early as a field of experiment with the BBCI. The reasons are on the one hand the easy controlling of the
game and on the other hand the motivating effect on probands.
BBCI is a combined research project at the Fraunhofer-Institut für Rechnerarchitektur
und Softwaretechnik (FIRST) and the Klinik
für Neurologie am Campus Benjamin Franklin der Charité and is funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung.