Brain-Computer Interfaces by Electrical Cortex Activity

Brain-Computer Interfaces by Electrical Cortex Activity: Challenges in Creating a Cognitive System for Mobile Devices Using Steady-State Visually Evoked Potentials

Pedro Morais, Carla Quintão, Pedro Vieira

Abstract

The research field of BrainComputer Interfaces (BCI) emerged in an attempt to enable communication between paralyzed patients and technology. Identifying an individual’s mental state, through his brain’s electric activity, a typical BCI system assigns to it a particular action in the computer. It is known that when the visual cortex is stimulated with a certain frequency, it shows activity with the same frequency. This SteadyState Visually Evoked Potential(SSVEP) activity can be used to achieve the aforementioned communication goal. In this work, we first analyze the spontaneous electrical activity of the brain, to distinguish two mental sates (concentration/meditation). Then, following an SSVEP type of approach, we divide the stimulating screen in four areas, each of which flickering at a distinct frequency. By observing the responding frequency from the occipital lobe of the subject, we can then estimate the 2 bit decision he made. We observe that such a setup is efficient for real time BCI, and can be easily integrated in mobile devices. Besides, the user is able to change voluntarily her/his decisions, interacting with the system in a natural manner.

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