Towards non-invasive hybrid brain-computer interfaces: Framework, practice, clinical application and beyond
In their early days, BCIs were only considered as control channel for end users with severe motor impairments such as people in the locked-in state. But, thanks to the multidisciplinary progress achieved over the last decade, the range of BCI applications has been substantially enlarged. Indeed, today BCI technology cannot only translate brain signals directly into control signals, but also can combine such kind of artificial output with a natural muscle-based output. Thus, the integration of multiple biological signals for real-time interaction holds the promise to enhance a much larger population than originally thought — end users with preserved residual functions who could benefit from new generations of assistive technologies. A BCI system that combines a BCI with other physiological or technical signals is known as hybrid BCI (hBCI). In this work we review the work of a large scale integrated project funded by the European commission which was dedicated to develop practical hybrid BCIs and introduce them in various fields of applications. We present a hBCI framework, which was used in studies with non-impaired as well as end users with motor impairments.