Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - BRAINROBOT (Brain computer interface for the control of rehabilitation robots, prostheses and paralysed limbs.)

The intention of the European BRAINROBOT project was the transfer of knowledge (ToK), via research in the field of non-invasive brain-computer interfaces (BCI) for the control of rehabilitation robots and care giving robots by disabled people.

People with spinal cord injuries above vertebra C4, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients and patients with similar disabilities need all day support by care giving persons. Care giving robots will, in the future, allow these patients to have, at least for some hours each day, a self-determined life independent from care persons. Control of such a robot by the disabled user is a very critical task. BCI offer a new and very promising human and machine interface.

The project BRAINROBOT intended to transfer knowledge on BCI to the Institute of Automation (IAT) with the support of international cooperation partners. The European Union funding allowed the transfer of knowledge through research projects that were carried out by incoming experienced researchers at IAT as well as by outgoing experienced researchers from IAT to international partners, such as Prof. Dr Gert Pfurtscheller, Laboratory of Brain Computer Interfaces, University Graz and Prof. Dr Ken Hunt, Centre of Systems and Control, University of Glasgow.

With the support of the cooperation partners, basic and application oriented research was carried out within the project. Two basic principles of BCI were considered in detail for robot control, i.e. steady state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP) and event related desynchronisation and synchronization (ERD/ERS) with motion imagination. Hardware and software systems were developed for electroencephalography (EEG) data acquisition and interpretation. Based on the results, new research was initiated to improve signal filtering, adaptation of the system to new users, influence of learning and feedback to the user and to use the acquired data for the control of a care giving robot. At the international fair CeBIT 2008, the IAT was able to set up a live demonstration of robot control with SSVEP-BCI, as well as to set up a study on the influence of the age and other parameters of a BCI user on its usability. For this study, 106 visitors of the IAT CEBIT booth volunteered as participants and used the Bremen-BCI. Another study, aiming more at disabled users, was carried out at the Rehacare 2008 in Düsseldorf.

The research results of the BRAINROBOT project initiated additional research projects. The European Union's Seventh Framework BRAIN project aimed to develop adaptive BCI for daily use and the German research project sBCI aimed at the application oriented research of fast BCI and the fusion of BCI signals with additional measurements to control complex devices. A third interdisciplinary research project with seven institutes from the faculty of physics, electrical and information engineering, the faculty of biology and the faculty of human and health sciences was also initiated and was funded by the University Bremen. This research project combined research about invasive and non-invasive BCI for the control of neuroprosthesis.

It could be in general stated that the BRAINROBOT project was very successful as it generated important research results in the area of robot arm control with non-invasive BCI and broadened knowledge on BCI at IAT. Additional basic and application oriented research was initiated and a high number of students and early stage researchers were trained in the field of BCI.

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