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ISBN 9783843913096

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978-3-8439-1309-6, Reihe Medizininformatik

Tobias Kaufmann
Brain-Computer Interfaces Based on Event-Related Potentials: Toward Fast, Reliable and Easy-To-Use Communication Systems for People with Neurodegenerative Disease

154 Seiten, Dissertation Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (2013), Hardcover, A5

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) provide a muscle independent interaction channel making them particularly valuable for individuals with severe motor impairment. Thus, different BCI systems and applications have been proposed as assistive technology (AT) solutions for such patients. The most prominent system for communication utilizes event-related potentials (ERP) obtained from the electroencephalogram (EEG) to allow for communication on a character-by-character basis. Yet in their current state of technology, daily life use cases of such systems are rare. In addition to the high EEG preparation effort, one of the main reasons is the low information throughput compared to other existing AT solutions. Furthermore, when testing BCI systems in patients, a performance drop is usually observed compared to healthy users. Patients often display a low signal-to-noise ratio of the recorded EEG and detection of brain responses may be aggravated due to internally (e.g. spasm) or externally induced artifacts (e.g. from ventilation devices). Consequently, practical BCI systems need to cope with manifold inter-individual differences. Whilst these high demands lead to increasing complexity of the technology, daily life use of BCI systems requires straightforward setup including an easy-to-use graphical user interface that nonprofessionals can handle without expert support.

This dissertation project aimed at bringing forward BCI technology toward a possible integration into end-users' daily life. Four basic research questions were addressed: (1) Can we identify performance predictors so that we can provide users with individual BCI solutions without the need of multiple, demanding testing sessions? (2) Can we provide complex BCI technology in an automated, user-friendly and easy-to-use manner, so that BCIs can be used without expert support at end-users' homes? (3) How can we account for and improve the low information transfer rates as compared to other existing assistive technology solutions? (4) How can we prevent the performance drop often seen when bringing BCI technology that was tested in healthy users to those with severe motor impairment?