Feb 21 2011
"Brain Computer Interface" (BCI) pursues the objective to extract information from human brain waves in order to provide persons suffering from severe disabilities with a communication system. One procedure in this entire process is the so-called hybrid BCI which enables an interlinking of two independent channels, i.e. the BCI and another entry system as a result of which both systems can be used in a highly efficient way. International experts will gather in the USA to deal with exactly this topic from 17th to 21st February this year. Graz University of Technology runs its own BCI laboratory and will be represented at the conference by the TUG Institute for Semantic Data Analysis. This annual meeting is organized by the "American Association for the Advancement of Science", the world's largest scientific society and publisher of the journal "Science".
Brain-computer interfaces allow people to communicate "through and with themselves". It is exactly by means of this interface between the brain and the computer that the brain waves are extracted from an electrode cap and transformed into control signals before being transferred to a neuroprosthesis attached to a limb; a human arm can be moved in this way, for example. The hybrid BCI plays a special role here, as Gernot Müller-Putz from the Institute for Semantic Data Analysis of the research group of Professor Christa Neuper explains, "We have reached a point in our research work where we can move away from the lab out into the clinical practice", and goes on to say, "however, in order to be able to heal people who suffer from paraplegia, there is still a long way to go." Rather, the aim here is to help people with a physical handicap to make their life easier through the use of BCI systems by transferring the control systems taken from the brain waves to the relevant limb in a most targeted manner.