Brain-computer interfacing in tetraplegic patients with high spinal cord injury
Jan Conradi, Benjamin Blankertz, Michael Tangermann, Volker Kunzmann and Gabriel Curio
Int J Bioelectromagnetism
One basic rationale for Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) is to enable severely paretic
persons to interact again with their environment. While advancements of BCI techniques are significant
in healthy volunteers, there are only few studies that investigated the applicability of BCIs in patients
afflicted by spinal cord injury (SCI), and the spatiotemporal characteristics of sensorimotor cortical
event-related potentials in these subjects is largely unknown. In this study we evaluated the feasibility
and performance rate of the Berlin Brain-Computer Interface in a first-session setting in high-level SCI
In a one-dimensional online feedback four out of seven subjects were were able to control the BCI via
attempted movements with their plegic limbs during the first session with a mean accuracy of 75%.
Interestingly, subjects achieved an even higher perfomance rate of about 83 % (range: 74-95%) in a
‘cursor off’ mode, in which the feedback signal was provided only at the end of each trial. In contrast
to a previous SCI-BCI study, topographical and temporal patterns of event related desynchronizations
(ERDs) in the μ- and β-frequency bands were well distinguishable in these patients.