fMRI based BCI control using spatial visual attention at 7T
ABSTRACT In this study we have investigated the potential of using visual attention as a control-method for Brain-Computer-Interfaces (BCI). We show using high-field (7T) fMRI that subjects can control their visuospatial attention and that the BOLD effect is strong enough to base a reliable control-signal on. The strength and location of activation was determined for six subjects. In an additional experiment two of the subjects got real-time feedback based on the activation in the activated regions.
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ABSTRACT: The goal of Brain-Computer-Interface (BCI) technologies is to "outsource" the muscular control to a computer and create new communication channels, e.g. to people with severe paralysis, by measuring cortical activation changes and linking these changes to commands. Using real-time fMRI at 7T we show that visuospatial attention can be used to reliably regulate cortical activity and that it is possible to separate the cortical responses to multiple attention target regions in real time. The activated regions were first located on the fly using an incremental statistical analysis and the subjects were then given feedback based on the activity in these regions. Visuospatial attention is an attractive addition to the existing BCI control strategies, and the fact that it leaves the motor system still available makes it suitable also for applications aimed for healthy people.Conference proceedings: ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 01/2010; 2010:4221-5.