No muss, no fuss wireless EEG setup used to control a game with thoughts
Soft, wearable and wireless electronics have been used to control a simple virtual reality game with thoughts. It could become part of systems that restore movement and other functions for people who cannot do so for themselves now.
The researchers involved, from the United States, Korea and the United Kingdom, say they have created a brain-machine interface that is highly accurate and more practical than previous efforts.
The device looks like a black plastic band that encircles the head and is attached by two more bands that intersect at the crown of the head. No glue is used to keep large electrodes in contact with the subject’s skin as happens with encephalography, or EEG sessions.
Instead, the electrodes are tiny and bristling with micron-scale needle electrodes smaller than half a millimeter. The needles are so small, say the researchers, that they are not perceived by nerves. The result is “significantly enhanced EEG signals” as well as classification accuracy of 93.22 percent, plus or minus 1.33 percent, with as few as six channels.
Paired with convolutional neural network, or CNN, machine learning, the system boasts a motor imagery-based brain-machine interface that operates in real-time and continuously.
The device was tested on four subjects who were able to carry on wireless, real-time control of a virtual reality game with their thoughts.
Subjects saw “visual guidance on what they should be imaging” — computer animated disembodied limbs where their own limbs would appear if the subjects were not wearing a VR headset.
One of the schools involved, Georgia Tech, has applied for a patent on the system.
The potential use of biometrics in brain-computer interface technology, and associated privacy concerns, were the subject of a study published by OpenBCI earlier this year.