Many laboratories have begun to develop brain-computer interface (BCI) systems that provide communication and control capabilities to people with severe motor disabilities. Further progress and realization of practical applications depends on systematic evaluations and comparisons of different brain signals, recording methods, processing algorithms, output formats, and operating protocols. However, the typical BCI system is designed specifically for one particular BCI method and is, therefore, not suited to the systematic studies that are essential for continued progress. In response to this problem, we have developed a documented general-purpose BCI research and development platform called BCI2000. BCI2000 can incorporate alone or in combination any brain signals, signal processing methods, output devices, and operating protocols. This report is intended to describe to investigators, biomedical engineers, and computer scientists the concepts that the BC12000 system is based upon and gives examples of successful BCI implementations using this system. To date, we have used BCI2000 to create BCI systems for a variety of brain signals, processing methods, and applications. The data show that these systems function well in online operation and that BCI2000 satisfies the stringent real-time requirements of BCI systems. By substantially reducing labor and cost, BCI2000 facilitates the implementation of different BCI systems and other psychophysiological experiments. It is available with full documentation and free of charge for research or educational purposes and is currently being used in a variety of studies by many research groups.
Interest in developing a new method of man-to-machine communication--a brain-computer interface (BCI)--has grown steadily over the past few decades. BCIs create a new communication channel between the brain and an output device by bypassing conventional motor output pathways of nerves and muscles. These systems use signals recorded from the scalp, the surface of the cortex, or from inside the brain to enable users to control a variety of applications including simple word-processing software and orthotics. BCI technology could therefore provide a new communication and control option for individuals who cannot otherwise express their wishes to the outside world. Signal processing and classification methods are essential tools in the development of improved BCI technology. We organized the BCI Competition 2003 to evaluate the current state of the art of these tools. Four laboratories well versed in EEG-based BCI research provided six data sets in a documented format. We made these data sets (i.e., labeled training sets and unlabeled test sets) and their descriptions available on the Internet. The goal in the competition was to maximize the performance measure for the test labels. Researchers worldwide tested their algorithms and competed for the best classification results. This paper describes the six data sets and the results and function of the most successful algorithms.
Abstract. Designing a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) system one can choose from a variety of features that may be useful for classifying brain activity during a mental task. For the special case of classifying EEG signals we propose the usage of the state of the art feature selection algorithms Recursive Feature Elimination  and Zero-Norm Optimization  which are based on the training of Support Vector Machines (SVM) . These algorithms can provide more accurate solutions than standard filter methods for feature selection . We adapt the methods for the purpose of selecting EEG channels. For a motor imagery paradigm we show that the number of used channels can be reduced significantly without increasing the classification error. The resulting best channels agree well with the expected underlying cortical activity patterns during the mental tasks. Furthermore we show how time dependent task specific information can be visualized.
Behavioral and cognitive improvements in children with ADHD have been consistently reported after neurofeedback-treatment. However, neurofeedback has not been commonly accepted as a treatment for ADHD. This study addresses previous methodological shortcomings while comparing a neurofeedback-training of Theta-Beta frequencies and training of slow cortical potentials (SCPs). The study aimed at answering (a) whether patients were able to demonstrate learning of cortical self-regulation, (b) if treatment leads to an improvement in cognition and behavior and (c) if the two experimental groups differ in cognitive and behavioral outcome variables. SCP participants were trained to produce positive and negative SCP-shifts while the Theta/Beta participants were trained to suppress Theta (4-8 Hz) while increasing Beta (12-20 Hz). Participants were blind to group assignment. Assessment included potentially confounding variables. Each group was comprised of 19 children with ADHD (aged 8-13 years). The treatment procedure consisted of three phases of 10 sessions each. Both groups were able to intentionally regulate cortical activity and improved in attention and IQ. Parents and teachers reported significant behavioral and cognitive improvements. Clinical effects for both groups remained stable six months after treatment. Groups did not differ in behavioural or cognitive outcome.
According to the guidelines of the efficacy of treatments, the evidence of the efficacy of slow cortical potential feedback found in this study reaches level 2: "possibly efficacious." In the absence of a control group, no causal relationship between observed improvements and the ability to regulate brain activity can be made. However, it could be shown for the first time that good performance in self-regulation predicts clinical outcome. "Good performance" was defined as the ability to produce negative potential shifts in trials without feedback, because it is known that the ability to self-regulate without feedback is impaired in children and adults with attention problems. Additional research should focus on the control of unspecific effects, medication, and subtypes to confirm the assumption that slow cortical potential feedback is a viable treatment option for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Regulation of slow cortical potentials may involve similar neurobiological pathways as medical treatment. It is suggested that regulation of frontocentral negative slow cortical potentials affects the cholinergic-dopaminergic balance and allows children to adapt to task requirements more flexibly.
The thought translation device trains locked-in patients to self-regulate slow cortical potentials (SCP's) of their electroencephalogram (EEG). After operant learning of SCP self-control, patients select letters, words or pictograms in a computerized language support program. Results of five respirated, locked-in-patients are described, demonstrating the usefulness of the thought translation device as an alternative communication channel in motivated totally paralyzed patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.Index Terms-Electroencephalogram (EEG), language support program, locked-in, operant learning, slow cortical potentials (SCP's).
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