Non-Invasive Brain-Machine Interaction
The promise of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) technology is to augment human capabilities by enabling interaction with computers through a conscious and spontaneous modulation of the brainwaves after a short training period. Indeed, by analyzing brain electrical activity online, several groups have designed brain-actuated devices that provide alternative channels for communication, entertainment and control. Thus, a person can write messages using a virtual keyboard on a computer screen and also browse the internet. Alternatively, subjects can operate simple computer games, or brain games, and interact with educational software. Work with humans has shown that it is possible for them to move a cursor and even to drive a wheelchair. This paper briefly reviews the field of BCI, with a focus on non-invasive systems based on electroencephalogram (EEG) signals. It also describes three brain-actuated devices we have developed: a virtual keyboard, a brain game, and a wheelchair. Finally, it shortly discusses current research directions we are pursuing in order to improve the performance and robustness of our BCI system, especially for real-time control of brain actuated robots.