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Miralles F.,Barcelona Digital | Vargiu E.,Barcelona Digital | Dauwalder S.,Barcelona Digital | Sola M.,Barcelona Digital | And 12 more authors.
Scientific World Journal | Year: 2015

The novel BackHome system offers individuals with disabilities a range of useful services available via brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), to help restore their independence. This is the time such technology is ready to be deployed in the real world, that is, at the target end users' home. This has been achieved by the development of practical electrodes, easy to use software, and delivering telemonitoring and home support capabilities which have been conceived, implemented, and tested within a user-centred design approach. The final BackHome system is the result of a 3-year long process involving extensive user engagement to maximize effectiveness, reliability, robustness, and ease of use of a home based BCI system. The system is comprised of ergonomic and hassle-free BCI equipment; one-click software services for Smart Home control, cognitive stimulation, and web browsing; and remote telemonitoring and home support tools to enable independent home use for nonexpert caregivers and users. BackHome aims to successfully bring BCIs to the home of people with limited mobility to restore their independence and ultimately improve their quality of life. © 2015 Felip Miralles et al.

Mulvenna M.,University of Ulster | Lightbody G.,University of Ulster | Thomson E.,Cedar Foundation | McCullagh P.,University of Ulster | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Assistive Technologies | Year: 2012

Purpose: This paper describes the research underpinning the development and evaluation of a brain computer interface (BCI) system designed to be suitable for domestic use by people with acquired brain injury in order to facilitate control of their home environment. The purpose of the research is to develop a robust and user-friendly BCI system which was customisable in terms of user ability, preferences and functionality. Specifically the human interface was designed to provide consistent visual metaphors in usage, while applications change, for example, from environmental control to entertainment and communications. Design/methodology/approach: The research took a user centred design approach involving representative end-users throughout the design and evaluation process. A qualitative study adopting user interviews alongside interactive workshops highlighted the issues that needed to be addressed in the development of a user interface for such a system. User validation then underpinned prototype development. Findings: The findings of the research indicate that while there are still significant challenges in translating working BCI systems from the research laboratories to the homes of individuals with acquired brain injuries, participants are keen to be involved in the deign and development of such systems. In its current stage of development BCI is multi-facetted and uses complex software, which poses a significant usability challenge. This work also found that the performance of the BCI paradigm chosen was considerably better for those users with no disability than for those with acquired brain injury. Further work is required to identify how and whether this performance gap can be addressed. Research limitations/implications: The research had significant challenges in terms of managing the complexity of the hardware and software set-up and transferring the working systems to be tested by participants in their home. Furthermore, the authors believe that the development of assistive technologies for the disabled user requires a significant additional level of personalisation and intensive support to the level normally required for non-disabled users. Coupled with the inherent complexity of BCI, this leads to technology that does not easily offer a solution to both disabled and non-disabled users. Originality/value: The research contributes additional findings relating to the usability of BCI systems. The value of the work is to highlight the practical issues involved in translating such systems to participants where the acquired brain injury can impact on the ability of the participant to use the BCI system. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Daly J.,Cedar Foundation | Armstrong E.,Cedar Foundation | Thomson E.,Cedar Foundation | Martin S.,University of Ulster
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2014

This paper presents the findings from an evaluation of a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) with a group of people without brain injury and end users with acquired brain injury. The system held a number of applications to enable communication, web browsing, smart home control and cognitive rehabilitation. Participants engaged in a three-session cycle of testing and completed usability questionnaires within the user centred design approach adopted. The average accuracy score for the people without brain injury was 82.6% (±4.7) with the cognitive rehabilitation reporting the highest response rate. End users recorded an average accuracy score of 74% (±11.5), with the speller logging the highest accuracy score. The findings outline the importance of engaging with end users to identify the current functionality and usability of such systems in order to move them closer towards a marketable product used in a domestic environment. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014.

Ware M.P.,University of Ulster | Lightbody G.,University of Ulster | McCullagh P.J.,University of Ulster | Mulvenna M.D.,University of Ulster | And 2 more authors.
Proceedings of the IEEE/EMBS Region 8 International Conference on Information Technology Applications in Biomedicine, ITAB | Year: 2010

Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) are seen as a potential solution in overcoming some of the restraints that individuals with highly restricted movement face in their daily life; for instance the ability to operate appliances independently, to communicate, and to access forms of entertainment. Recently in the laboratory many successes have been reported and outreach studies have suggested that BCIs dedicated to supporting individuals with physical impairments are possible. This leads to the posing of a question. Are ubiquitous domestic brain-computer interface achievable and if so what would this entail? The BRAIN project is dedicated to answering this question. In doing this there are many aspects to be considered. In this paper we focus upon what is involved in providing a suitable BCI system to an individual, what levels of tolerance are required to make the technology a practical and usable proposition in a domestic environment and what design and technical trade-offs should be considered. © 2010 IEEE.

Lightbody G.,University of Ulster | Ware M.,University of Ulster | McCullagh P.,University of Ulster | Mulvenna M.D.,University of Ulster | And 5 more authors.
2010 4th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, Pervasive Health 2010 | Year: 2010

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) research requires a multi-disciplinary approach. The core concept harnesses brain wave activity to enable a user to interact with devices without the need for physical activity. There are many possible benefactors of such technology, including rehabilitation, supporting disabled people in everyday activities and the gaming industry. This is a science that has been in the embryonic stage for some years and there has been a recent push to develop the technology for application outside of the laboratory environment. This paper gives details of developments within the European Union (EU) funded BRAIN project whereby the goal is to achieve an easily used BCI system for operation in a domestic environment. More importantly, as much of the BCI community's research to date has been in the advancement of the scientific signal processing and paradigm development there has been less attention to the user aspects of the BCI system. In contrary a user-centred model of development is employed in this project.

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