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Clin Neurophysiol. 2006 Mar;117(3):538-48. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

A P300-based brain-computer interface: initial tests by ALS patients.

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New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center, E1001 Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12201, USA.



The current study evaluates the effectiveness of a brain-computer interface (BCI) system that operates by detecting a P300 elicited by one of four randomly presented stimuli (i.e. YES, NO, PASS, END).


Two groups of participants were tested. The first group included three amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients that varied in degree of disability, but all retained the ability to communicate; the second group included three non-ALS controls. Each participant participated in ten experimental sessions during a period of approximately 6 weeks. During each run the participant's task was to attend to one stimulus and disregard the other three. Stimuli were presented auditorily, visually, or in both modes.


Two of the 3 ALS patient's classification rates were equal to those achieved by the non-ALS participants. Waveform morphology varied as a function of the presentation mode, but not in a similar pattern for each participant.


The event-related potentials elicited by the target stimuli could be discriminated from the non-target stimuli for the non-ALS and the ALS groups. Future studies will begin to examine online classification.


The results of offline classification suggest that a P300-based BCI can serve as a non-muscular communication device in both ALS, and non-ALS control groups.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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