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Neurosci Lett. 2009 Jan 9;449(2):123-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.10.099. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Brain-computer interface: changes in performance using virtual reality techniques.

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Departamento Tecnología Electrónica, ETSI Telecomunicación, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, Spain.


The ability to control electroencephalographic (EEG) signals when different mental tasks are carried out would provide a method of communication for people with serious motor function problems. This system is known as a brain-computer interface (BCI). Due to the difficulty of controlling one's own EEG signals, a suitable training protocol is required to motivate subjects, as it is necessary to provide some type of visual feedback allowing subjects to see their progress. Conventional systems of feedback are based on simple visual presentations, such as a horizontal bar extension. However, virtual reality is a powerful tool with graphical possibilities to improve BCI-feedback presentation. The objective of the study is to explore the advantages of the use of feedback based on virtual reality techniques compared to conventional systems of feedback. Sixteen untrained subjects, divided into two groups, participated in the experiment. A group of subjects was trained using a BCI system, which uses conventional feedback (bar extension), and another group was trained using a BCI system, which submits subjects to a more familiar environment, such as controlling a car to avoid obstacles. The obtained results suggest that EEG behaviour can be modified via feedback presentation. Significant differences in classification error rates between both interfaces were obtained during the feedback period, confirming that an interface based on virtual reality techniques can improve the feedback control, specifically for untrained subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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