Brain Computer Interface for Augmented Communication
Ist Supervisor: Dr Paul McCullagh
2nd Supervisor: Dr Gaye Lightbody
Brain Computer Interface (BCI) promises to be an enabling and inclusive technology for people with severe physical disabilities. Disease and traumatic injury can in severe cases lead to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or ‘locked-in syndrome’ [1, 2, 3]. At its core concept it is the enabling of a user to interact with devices without the need for muscular activity. There are many possible benefactors to such a potential technology from the gaming industry, rehabilitation and enabling the disabled. This is a science that has been in the embryonic stage for some years and there has been a recent push to develop the technology for application outside of the laboratory environment.
Social Inclusion opens access to media enabling BCI users to network with the existing population on social networks. The potential for inclusion with such a technology can not be underestimated. The PhD proposal will build upon current developments within the Smart Environments whereby user interface development and end user involvement are involved. The PhD would be to study and develop communication tools targeted to the disabled user. It will be a user centric project using involvement and evaluation from the user to determine desired methods for communication. There are several aspects currently considered as detailed below. Spellers enable the user through the use of visual stimulus based paradigms to spell out messages. This is a slow process due to the low bit rate typical of BCI systems. There are several possibilities to enhance such systems. Firstly, the user could define a preset menu of messages which could be selected or added to. Intelligence could be added to this process based on the context in which the user is using tool. Furthermore, with combination of spelling activities the tool to acquire some ability to learn and adapt the message set.
The purpose of such a development would be to enable the user to perform a number of social activities that rely on text based input. Such examples could be Twitter , Facebook, and LinkedIn for social networking and Short Message System (SMS) for person to person contact. In addition, the ability to send an audio message to a phone or another location within their dwelling could add a personal dimension to their communication.
The Smart Environments Group (SERG) has two BCI systems: a commercial system from Guger Technologies (www.gtec.at ) and a bespoke system developed as part of the EU FP7 BRAIN project (www.brain-project.org ).
First Supervisor: McCullagh, PJ Dr
Second Supervisor: Lightbody, G Dr
Collaboration: This project does not involve collaboration with another establishment
Brain Computer Interface (BCI) promises to be an enabling and inclusive technology for people with severe physical disabilities.
The potential for inclusion with such a technology can not be underestimated.
The purpose would be to enable the user to perform a number of social activities that rely on text based input.