Brain-computer interaction: Preliminary results in two subjects

  • Dimassi H
  • Pattaroni N
  • Al-Khdairy A
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Introduction.- Our institution is one of the 12 members of the European TOBI (Tools For Brain-Computer Interaction) and one of the 4 clinics applying the technology with patients. We collaborate closely with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. After giving their consent, subjects with severe upper limb deficiency train on the brain-computer interface. Once they succeed, they can choose either to drive a robot (Robotino®) or to use a text entry program (QualiWORLD®). Presently 6 subjects have been enrolled. We present the results obtained with 2 patients suffering from muscle dystrophy: S1, a 28-year-old male and S2, a 33-year-old female. Observations.- Before each session, questionnaires evaluating motivation (VAS), mood and depression (CES-D, QCMBCI2000, VAS) were introduced. After each session, the NASA Task Load Index provided an overall workload score based on a weighted average of ratings on six subscales: Mental demand, physical demand, temporal demand, performance, effort and frustration. After the whole protocol was over, the patient's and therapist's satisfactions regarding the prototype was evaluated by VAS and TUEBS 1.0. Robotino.- Both had to drive the Robotono along 3 paths, from a starting point to 4 targets and back using a) the interface, b) manual switch. The time needed to perform pathway 1 was shorter with the mental command for S1 (323.66 versus 345.37 sec) while S2 had a quicker mental command for pathways 1 and 3. QualiWorld: S2 was asked to write mentally 1- to 5-figure numbers and 1- to 6-letterwords. She made 73 mistakes to write 135 characters. She needed on average 47.83 seconds to write down one character. In spite of some disappointing results, S2 was satisfied with her performance. Discussion.- Both subjects were satisfied to discover the possibilities to mentally (Brain Computer Interaction) control assistive technology and are eager to use the technology at home. However, a third person is still necessary for using both hard- and softwares, and the latency between the command and response of the prototypes is still long. BCI leads to interesting perspectives. The concept needs improvement in performance and easiness to use.




Dimassi, H., Pattaroni, N., & Al-Khdairy, A. W. (2011). Brain-computer interaction: Preliminary results in two subjects. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 54, e61.

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