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Brain Computer Interfaces, a Review

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      Abstract

      A brain-computer interface (BCI) is a hardware and software communications system that permits cerebral activity alone to control computers or external devices. The immediate goal of BCI research is to provide communications capabilities to severely disabled people who are totally paralyzed or ‘locked in’ by neurological neuromuscular disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, brain stem stroke, or spinal cord injury. Here, we review the state-of-the-art of BCIs, looking at the different steps that form a standard BCI: signal acquisition, preprocessing or signal enhancement, feature extraction, classification and the control interface. We discuss their advantages, drawbacks, and latest advances, and we survey the numerous technologies reported in the scientific literature to design each step of a BCI. First, the review examines the neuroimaging modalities used in the signal acquisition step, each of which monitors a different functional brain activity such as electrical, magnetic or metabolic activity. Second, the review discusses different electrophysiological control signals that determine user intentions, which can be detected in brain activity. Third, the review includes some techniques used in the signal enhancement step to deal with the artifacts in the control signals and improve the performance. Fourth, the review studies some mathematic algorithms used in the feature extraction and classification steps which translate the information in the control signals into commands that operate a computer or other device. Finally, the review provides an overview of various BCI applications that control a range of devices.

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      Most cited references 375

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      An internally or externally paced event results not only in the generation of an event-related potential (ERP) but also in a change in the ongoing EEG/MEG in form of an event-related desynchronization (ERD) or event-related synchronization (ERS). The ERP on the one side and the ERD/ERS on the other side are different responses of neuronal structures in the brain. While the former is phase-locked, the latter is not phase-locked to the event. The most important difference between both phenomena is that the ERD/ERS is highly frequency band-specific, whereby either the same or different locations on the scalp can display ERD and ERS simultaneously. Quantification of ERD/ERS in time and space is demonstrated on data from a number of movement experiments.
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        Neurophysiological investigation of the basis of the fMRI signal.

        Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is widely used to study the operational organization of the human brain, but the exact relationship between the measured fMRI signal and the underlying neural activity is unclear. Here we present simultaneous intracortical recordings of neural signals and fMRI responses. We compared local field potentials (LFPs), single- and multi-unit spiking activity with highly spatio-temporally resolved blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI responses from the visual cortex of monkeys. The largest magnitude changes were observed in LFPs, which at recording sites characterized by transient responses were the only signal that significantly correlated with the haemodynamic response. Linear systems analysis on a trial-by-trial basis showed that the impulse response of the neurovascular system is both animal- and site-specific, and that LFPs yield a better estimate of BOLD responses than the multi-unit responses. These findings suggest that the BOLD contrast mechanism reflects the input and intracortical processing of a given area rather than its spiking output.
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          Neuromotor prostheses (NMPs) aim to replace or restore lost motor functions in paralysed humans by routeing movement-related signals from the brain, around damaged parts of the nervous system, to external effectors. To translate preclinical results from intact animals to a clinically useful NMP, movement signals must persist in cortex after spinal cord injury and be engaged by movement intent when sensory inputs and limb movement are long absent. Furthermore, NMPs would require that intention-driven neuronal activity be converted into a control signal that enables useful tasks. Here we show initial results for a tetraplegic human (MN) using a pilot NMP. Neuronal ensemble activity recorded through a 96-microelectrode array implanted in primary motor cortex demonstrated that intended hand motion modulates cortical spiking patterns three years after spinal cord injury. Decoders were created, providing a 'neural cursor' with which MN opened simulated e-mail and operated devices such as a television, even while conversing. Furthermore, MN used neural control to open and close a prosthetic hand, and perform rudimentary actions with a multi-jointed robotic arm. These early results suggest that NMPs based upon intracortical neuronal ensemble spiking activity could provide a valuable new neurotechnology to restore independence for humans with paralysis.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Signal Theory, Communications and Telematics Engineering, University of Valladolid, Valladolid 47011, Spain; E-Mail: jgomgil@ 123456tel.uva.es
            Author notes
            [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: lnicalo@ 123456ribera.tel.uva.es ; Tel.: +34-690-357-486; Fax: +34-983-423-667.
            Journal
            Sensors (Basel)
            Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)
            Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
            1424-8220
            2012
            31 January 2012
            : 12
            : 2
            : 1211-1279
            3304110
            22438708
            10.3390/s120201211
            sensors-12-01211
            © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland

            This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

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