A brain-computer interface with vibrotactile biofeedback for haptic information

Aniruddha Chatterjee, Vikram Aggarwal, Ander Ramos, Soumyadipta Acharya, Nitish V. Thakor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background. It has been suggested that Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) may one day be suitable for controlling a neuroprosthesis. For closed-loop operation of BCI, a tactile feedback channel that is compatible with neuroprosthetic applications is desired. Operation of an EEG-based BCI using only vibrotactile feedback, a commonly used method to convey haptic senses of contact and pressure, is demonstrated with a high level of accuracy. Methods. A Mu-rhythm based BCI using a motor imagery paradigm was used to control the position of a virtual cursor. The cursor position was shown visually as well as transmitted haptically by modulating the intensity of a vibrotactile stimulus to the upper limb. A total of six subjects operated the BCI in a two-stage targeting task, receiving only vibrotactile biofeedback of performance. The location of the vibration was also systematically varied between the left and right arms to investigate location-dependent effects on performance. Results and Conclusion. Subjects are able to control the BCI using only vibrotactile feedback with an average accuracy of 56% and as high as 72%. These accuracies are significantly higher than the 15% predicted by random chance if the subject had no voluntary control of their Mu-rhythm. The results of this study demonstrate that vibrotactile feedback is an effective biofeedback modality to operate a BCI using motor imagery. In addition, the study shows that placement of the vibrotactile stimulation on the biceps ipsilateral or contralateral to the motor imagery introduces a significant bias in the BCI accuracy. This bias is consistent with a drop in performance generated by stimulation of the contralateral limb. Users demonstrated the capability to overcome this bias with training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number40
JournalJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Volume4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 10 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Informatics

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