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Bringing BCI into everyday life: Motor imagery in a pseudo realistic environment

Brandl, Stephanie; Höhne, Johannes; Müller, Klaus-Robert; Samek, Wojciech

Bringing Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) into everyday life is a challenge because an out-of-lab environment implies the presence of variables that are largely beyond control of the user and the software application. This can severely corrupt signal quality as well as reliability of BCI control. Current BCI technology may fail in this application scenario because of the large amounts of noise, nonstationarity and movement artifacts. In this paper, we systematically investigate the performance of motor imagery BCI in a pseudo realistic environment. In our study 16 participants were asked to perform motor imagery tasks while dealing with different types of distractions such as vibratory stimulations or listening tasks. Our experiments demonstrate that standard BCI procedures are not robust to theses additional sources of noise, implicating that methods which work well in a lab environment, may perform poorly in realistic application scenarios. We discuss several promising research directions to tackle this important problem.
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Published in: 2015 7th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering (NER), 10.1109/NER.2015.7146600, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)