A report from the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center (CRNL). Here, researchers from the Brain Dynamics and Cognition (Dycog) team are tackling development of the brain-computer interface.
At the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center (CRNL)*, strange headgear is in fashion. Made from fabric studded with a series of electrodes, this cap is used to perform human electroencephalography (EEG). Or, in other words, to measure the electrical activity of the brain. On paper, this activity is just a succession of peaks and troughs but for researchers from the Brain Dynamics and Cognition (Dycog) team, it is a way to… access your thoughts! "When you're focused on something, such as a game, it's possible to measure a characteristic brain signal using the cap’s sensors", explains Jérémie Mattout, Inserm Research Associate at the CRNL and head of the Brain-computer interaction: control and learning project
Following computer analysis, the data are transformed into commands intended for a machine, such as a computer, prosthetic or artificial voice. Commands through which thought directly becomes action, circumventing the peripheral nerves and muscles usually required to move our limbs and jaws! The potential clinical applications are many. Tetraplegic patients could enjoy new autonomy using an exoskeleton directed by their thoughts, the victims of locked-in syndrome could regain the ability to communicate with the aid of a computer, amputees could control a neuroprosthetic, etc. These are all applications that perfectly illustrate two projects conducted by the Dycog team: Mind Your Brain, a clinical trial devoted to children suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder with and without Hyperactivity (ADD/H) and Meegaperf, which is dedicated to detecting mental or physical fatigue.
*Inserm/CNRS/Université Saint Etienne-Jean Monnet/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 Unit 1028