Monday, December 03, 2012

BCI European Projects

Here are probably the 6 bigger BCI EU projects for systems that include spelling devices, computer games, functional electrical stimulation and navigation in virtual environments.

TOBI (2008-2012)

TOBI will design non-invasive BCI prototypes that will be combined with existing assistive technologies and rehabilitation protocols. In such a hybrid approach users can couple brain interaction with muscle-based interaction or can naturally switch between the different ways of interacting. Non-invasive BCI are based on electroencephalogram (EEG) signals. The EEG is recorded through electrodes placed on the user's head. This technology is not invasive and only records the electrical activity of the brain without interfering with it. TOBI is expected to have an impact by broadening the appropriate use of BCI assistive technology, by incorporating adaptive capabilities that augment those other assistive technologies they are combined with.

DECODER (2010-2012)

DECODER is a European collaborative project that will deploy Brain-Computer-Interfaces (BCI) for the detection of consciousness in non-responsive patients. The DECODER team develops an assessment battery that sup­ports an exact diagnosis of the state of consciousness by a variety of auditory, visual, tactile and mental stimulation paradigms. Through the deployment of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) for non-responsive patients DECODER will provide access to modern information and communication technology such as internet, personal computer or home appliances when only a single response of a person is available.

BETTER (2010-2012)

The principal goal of BETTER is to improve physical rehabilitation therapies of gait disorders in stroke patients based on BNCI assistive technologies, producing improved systems, providing guidelines for improving future systems, and developing benchmarking and evaluation tools. The project will validate, technically, functionally and clinically, the concept of improving stroke rehabilitation with wearable exoskeletons and robotic gait trainers based on a TOP-DOWN approach: The robot exerts physical stimulation -at the periphery- as a function of targeted neural activation patterns (related to user involvement). This intervention is expected to result in reorganizations in the cortex. Such Top-Down therapeutic treatment would aim to encourage plasticity of the affected brain structures to improve motor function.

BrainAble (2010-2012)
The BrainAble project is about empowering them and pursues to mitigate the limitations of the everyday life to which they are confronted to. Our initiative is to research, design, implement and validate an ICT-based HCI (Human Computer Interface) composed of BNCI (Brain Neural Computer Interface) sensors combined with affective computing and virtual environments. Motor disabilities of people from any origin have a dramatic effect on their quality of life. Some examples of neurologic nature include a person suffering from a severe brain injury resulting from a car collision or individuals who have suffered a brain stroke. For years, the severely disabled have learned to cope with their restricted autonomy, impacting on their daily activities like moving around or turning on the lights and ability for social interaction.

ABC (2011-2014)
ABC aims at increasing human capabilities by means of Brain/Neural Computer Interfaces (BNCI). The project will develop applications addressed primarily to persons with Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy (DCP). Due to DCP particular conditions, BNCI-based systems present a huge potential for the improvement of the quality life and the promotion the independent living of this target group. In particular, project outcomes will specifically focus the augmentation of capabilities related to communication, learning, social participation and control of devices. ABC system will be composed by four independent modules based on the latest advancements in BNCI signal processing, Affective Computing, Augmented Communication and Biosignal Monitoring. The reference European Research Institutions in each field will lead the R&D work.

BackHome (2012-2015)
BACKHOME will conceive, research, design, implement and validate person-centred solutions to end users with functional diversity. Knowing the person’s needs will be a core part of the pro­ject focus. Social research techniques will be conducted in order to provide a continuous flow of user-based knowled­ge that will be crucial to ensure the alignment between the project outputs and the requirements of people.
BackHome will provide Assistive Technology (AT) so­lutions to research and develop systems for assisting people with severe disabilities. The AT embedded within BackHome will include BNCIs, environmental control systems and a range of other te­chnologies which are usually classified as ambient inte­lligence and which can provide a considerable support to make BNCI solutions really work in environments with a lack of human support.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

EEG with Dry Electrodes

Enobio is a wearable and wireless electrophysiology sensor system for the recording of EEG using dry electrodes. It is not necessary to use gel or saline water so it takes just one minute to start reading EEG signals.

This system has a user friendly software (NIC) for real time visualization (including spectrum and spectrogram), filtering, streaming and feature extraction. It as 8 or 20 channels and is wireless using Bluetooth.

Neuroelectrics from Spain (Barcelona) provides this solution. The price is supplied by completing a questionnaire and depending on the type of activity for which it will be used.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cognitive Control Machines by FESTO

A software solution for controlling devices with thoughts was developed by FESTO using the EPOC BCI device from EMOTIV. 

CogniGame is a reinterpretation of the 1970s game with two players, a ball and two linear axes which move the bats to clear the ball and keep it in play. One player controls his bat with a joystick, and the other controls the linear axis alone by the power of thought via a brain-computer interface (BCI).

This system uses the brainwave pattern mu rhythm. The mu rhythm is generated in the motor-sensory cortex and occurs as a result of physical movement, or even the mere thought of such movement. Consequently, it’s sufficient to simply imagine the left hand moving in order to move the axis to the left. 
More information in the PDF article "New operational concepts for human-machine interaction".

Samsung BCI patent

Samsung recently patent its product to US patent and Trademark office. The patent application which covers Samsung’s initial work on a possible future headset that will utilize a brain computer interface.
Getting to the heart of the patent, Samsung states that “The neural activity is tracked on a neural activity detecting device. The electrical signals representative of the neural activity are transmitted via wired or wireless to the control unit.

If a predetermined signal is sensed by a detecting device, the same EEG readings may be monitored. For example, the Alpha waves (8-13 Hz) could be affected if the user concentrates on some actions. If the concentration pattern is detected, the system is responsive to the signal and issue an instruction to take action to “open file”, “close file”, “copy file”, “clicking”, “paste”, “delete”, “space”, or “inputting characteristics” etc. 

It should be noted that the state patterns of potential users may be monitored before the system is used.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

3D Brain Atlas

The Brain Explorer 3-D viewer is a dynamic tool associated with the Allen Human Brain Atlas that allows you to visualize human brain anatomy and gene expression information from the Atlas database.

A growing collection of online public resources integrating extensive gene expression and neuroanatomical data, complete with a novel suite of search and viewing tools.

The Brain Explorer 2 software is a desktop application for viewing the human brain anatomy and gene expression data in 3-D. Using the Brain Explorer 2 software, you can:

  • View a fully interactive version of the Allen Human Brain Atlas in 3-D;
  • View gene expression data in 3-D: inflated cortical surfaces are colored by gene expression values of nearby samples;
  • View expression data from different donors side-by-side;
  • Explore anatomically-labeled MRI images and cortical surfaces.

This video provides a brief walkthrough of the interactive 3-D viewer, demonstrating its basic features for exploring human brain anatomy and gene expression.

MUSE headband controler

MUSE is a flexible, adjustable, lightweight headband with 4 sensors - including two on the forehead and two behind the ears. It communicates over Bluetooth and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac OS, Windows and Linux. This is a new competitor to Emotiv or NeuroSky companies.

The Canadian startup InteraXon says that it's specially designed to work with a family of applications with exercises for brain health, fitness training, stress management, studying and many more. MUSE is expected to launch in 2013 and retail for around $200. 

Main features:
  • Open communication standard to allow people to write their own device drivers;
  • Rechargeable battery that lasts for 10 hours of use;
  • The headband produces bipolar readings using AFz as the reference for AF3, AF4, TP9, TP10;  
  • The 4-electrode montage enables estimation of hemispheric asymmetries;
  • EEG signals are oversampled and bandpass filtered for noise reduction then downsampled to yield a selectable output sampling rate from 100 Hz to 600 Hz with 2uV (RMS) noise;
  • Active noise suppression is achieved with a DRL - REF feedback configuration using centrally positioned frontal electrodes. 

In my opinion, using an equipment that reads EEG in real-time, when you are running or walking, will have a lots of "noise". I am very curious to see if InteraXon is able to overcome this big challenge.

Monday, May 21, 2012

MindWave EEG for Tablets and Smartphones

The new MindWave mobile headset from NeuroSky measure your attention and meditation degree and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets. Probably it is the research EEG headset available less expensive in the market (about 100€). The new bio-sensor chip (TGAM) makes possible to have a clear brainwave signal to get EEG signals.

The device consists of a headset, an ear-clip, and a sensor arm.  The headset’s reference and ground electrodes are on the ear clip and the EEG electrode is on the sensor arm, resting on the forehead above the eye in the FP1 position. It uses a single AAA battery with 8 hours of battery life and it uses Bluetooth to send the data to the mobile devices.

•   Raw-Brainwaves;
•   Processing and output of EEG power spectrums (Alpha, Beta, etc.);
•   NeuroSky proprietary eSense meter for Attention, Meditation, and other future meters;
•   EEG signal quality analysis (can be used to detect poor or loss contact).

The product Necomimi analyzed before is this blog is an application example of MindWave system.

For more informations about BCI/EEG press here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brain Anatomy

The next color pictures show the brain anatomy with Frontal, Parietal, Occipital and Temporal lobes. It also describes some of the brain activity areas as Vision, Speech, Voluntary motor function, Hearing and Higher mental functions.

These pictures were taken from a Medical Legal Art video.

For more informations about BCI/EEG press here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


EMOTIV has developed a new wireless BCI with 14 sensors and a lithium battery with 12 hours of autonomy. It comes with Emokey that converts detected events into a combination of keystrokes running behind existing applications or games.

There's no need for keystroke combinations, simply smile or focus on a command and your applications respond. For example, combining Emotiv EPOC with a smartphone offers unique opportunities to capture brain imaging data reflecting our everyday social behavior in a mobile context, allowing for modeling the mental state of users as well as providing a basis for novel bio-feedback applications.

The EPOC SDKs have 4 different editions (developer, research, enterprise and education) and the price goes from $500 to $2500. "Mind reading images and reconstructing the neural sources", "An experimentation and mind-reading application for the Emotiv EPOC" and "P-300 Rhythm Detection Using ANFIS Algorithm and Wavelet Feature Extraction in EEG Signals" are some of the published papers related to Emotiv.

This system has different applications that can be used to read EEG:

  • Emotiv EPOC Brain Activity Map displays a real-time map of your mental activity with adjustable gain that allows to see detailed information and relative strengths between different brain regions. The price is $9.95 and is compatible with the Emotiv EPOC headset and SDK developer and research headsets.

This application costs $79.95 but is only available to Research, Education and Enterprise licenses.

Smartphone Brain Scanner

From a raw EEG data obtained with a wireless Emotiv 14 channel Neuroheadset the DTU Informatics from Technical University of Denmark made a EEG monitoring system where a smartphone provides a touch-based interface with real-time brain state decoding and 3D reconstruction.

The headset transmits the EEG data to a receiver module connected to a Smartphone. The delay between the signal appearing in the headset and being visualized on the screen depends on the used source reconstruction window and is between 130 and 150 msec for 8Hz visualization. The framerate of the visualization (realized in OpenGL) is around 30fps.

The Smart Brain Scanner provides a portable EEG system based in a real-time functional brain scanner including stimulus delivery, data acquisition, logging, brain state decoding and 3D activity visualization.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Playing Chess By Thinking

Dr. Michael Tangermann from the Berlin Institute of Technology (Technische Universität Berlin) explain how the player can moves the chess pieces across a board by thinking only.

Out of the 64 electrodes in the cap, he activates 14 which measure brain activity in key areas which detects which piece the person intends to move. It’s an intricate task and the cap must be fitted precisely for accurate readings. As soon as the cap is fitted, a system calibrates the software in order to recognise the specific traits of the player’s brain activity. The brain chess computer is just the tip of the iceberg and the technology could have serious medical implications, improving patients’ lives for the TOBI project is all about helping patients with severe motor neurone diseases communicate with the outside world.

This project was launched in November 2008 with the help of a European Union fund of thousands of dollars called TOBI - “Tools for Brain controlled interaction” and it costed.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Show Your Mood Reading EEG

The Japanese company Neurowear is selling a funny gadget that shows your mood. With the help of brainwaves and biosensors they have created a new kind of human organ. The next video shows how it can be used to change your social relations, not virtually but in real life, providing a first contact.

Necomimi has a headband with two ears and based on EEG they stand up each time the user is concentrated or see something interesting.

Smart Cap Using EEG

SmartCap is an innovator product made by EdanSafe from CRC-Mining Group in Australia that uses EEG to read if a worker is tired. This operator fatigue monitor system can inform the SmartCap user immediately showing is tired level in a small monitor or it can send this information to the cloud to be remotely analyzed.

The measurements are made in real time so it can reduce the occurrence of incidents. The fatigue algorithm has been independently validated by an Australian University and an accredited Sleep Centre.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

BCI Europe Research Links

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - Multimedia Signal Processing Group, Graz University of Technolog - Institute for Knowledge Discovery and Technical University of Denmark - Dep. of Informatics and  Mathematical Modelling are some of the most important institutes in Europe that makes BCI research.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - MultiMedia Signal Processing Group  
The Multimedia Signal Processing Group is headed by Prof. Touradj Ebrahimi from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland. The group is active in research and teaching in the field of multimedia signal processing. Research topics span over three highly interconnected disciplines of multimedia signal processing, namely multimedia coding, multimodal processing, analysis and interpretation, and media security.

Graz University of Technology - Institute for Knowledge Discovery   
The BCI Lab is one of the leading labs in brain-computer communication. It is an internationally renowned research institution with a research focus on brain-computer communication and dynamics of brain oscillations. More specifically, the lab has extensive expertise in EEG recording, offline and online processing of brain signals and biosignals in general, feature extraction, detection and classification of brain patterns, and neurofeedback systems.

Technical University of Denmark - Dep. of Informatics and  Mathematical Modelling  
milab is a laboratory at the Cognitive Systems Section at DTU Informatics offering an environment for research and teaching in the areas of mobile context awareness, media modeling, and user experiences. Advanced mobile phones and internet tablets are available for application prototype development and experiments, along with a set of useful tools.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Open Source Software For EEG

This message shows 3 open-source software for EEG analysis from a number of developers that have contributed to the OpenEEG community under free licenses.

First we have the OpenVibe, the open-source software for BCIs created by a consortium of academic and industrial partners. As written in their site:
"(...) The aim of the OpenViBE consortium was to develop open-source software for brain-computer interfaces, which is expected to promote and accelerate research, development and deployment of BCI technology. Key features of the resulting software are its modularity, its high performance, its multiple-users facilities and its connection with high-end virtual reality displays. (...)"

This software can run under Windows and Linux and it have a user-friendly graphical language to design a BCI without writing any line of code. It have also the possibility to use a set of software modules written in C++.

The second software is BrainBay that allows the graphical design for realtimeprocessing, display, storage and visual and acoustic feedback of biosignals and is being developed by Christoph Veigl and Jeremy Wilkerson. 

It supports Human-Computer-Interface functions and the NeuroServer Software Framework to transmit live recordings via Internet / LAN.

Finally the third software named BioEra. It have a visual designer that can be used to analyse signals in real time. The manufacturer says:
"(...) BioEra provides environment and tools to create various types of processing tasks. It can be used for research, games, self exploration, entrainment, sound processing and many others. Each task is contained in a design. To create a design no programming skill is required, only understanding of the process and its requirements.(...)"

The BioEra free version has all features available in BioEra Pro, but after 2 weeks since installation the design can be started only for 1 minute at a time.

For more informations about BCI/EEG press here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

EEG Frequency Bands

EEG waveforms are generally classified according to their frequency, amplitude and shape, as well as the location on the scalp at which they are recorded: 

  • 0.5 - 3   Hz: Delta  = Deep Sleep
  •    4 - 7   Hz: Theta = Light Sleep
  •    8 - 13 Hz: Alpha = Awake and Relaxed
  •  14 - 30 Hz: Beta   = Awake and Excited

The next table shows the location and state associated to the most familiar classification used for EEG waveform frequency.

For more informations about BCI/EEG press here.

EEG Animation Using Interactive Matlab Toolbox

The next video shows the result of time/frequency analysis, artifact rejection, and other functions using EEGLAB made by Zeynep Akalin Acar at the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience.
The color scale is red for '+', blue for '-' and green for '0'.

The speed of this animation is one fifth real time so it is easy to understand the challenge facing the scientific community to identify patterns of behavior.

EEG Recordings Of Control And Alcoholic Subjects

The next images shows the difference between two EEG data acquisition from a control and a alcoholic subjects.

This study was made by Henri Begleiter at the Neurodynamics Laboratory at the State University of New York Health Center at Brooklyn.

Welcome To My Blog

This is the first message in my blog.As a PhD researcher in Biomedical Engineering I hope to contribute in the next years with new information and knowledge to the scientific community.