By D. Riddoch
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Extra resources for Aids to the Examination of the Peripheral Nervous System
In this way a yes answer could be read out from the presence of this thumb wave in response to a statement. Of course, the ultimate aim is not to find out whether completely locked-in patients know that Berlin is the capital of Germany but to enable them to communicate their feelings and wishes to their carers, or even to write letters or books as Jean-Dominique Bauby did with his blink code. However, the researchers’ task was more complicated. The true statements did not evoke anything like a simple thumb wave in the EEG even after lengthy conditioning, and they had to use complex mathematical procedures to try and classify the brain responses into yes and no answers.
For most people BCI communication is far too complicated because they have easier means of communication available. Even the most 22 Brain Control severely paralysed patients can communicate faster and more effectively through eye trackers or other motor devices than through a BCI. However, for patients in a completely locked-in state this avenue for communication would make a huge difference. This technique was pioneered by biological psychologist Niels Birbaumer’s group, working at the University of Tübingen in Germany.
17 Amongst the EEG-based communication BCIs P300 spellers are most widely used and require the least amount of training of participants. P300 spellers work through the presentation of random sequences of letters or numbers on a computer screen. The participant wears a small set of EEG electrodes, which record the event-related potentials. He or she is asked to focus attention on the next intended character while ignoring all others. 18 The speed of the speller can be improved further if the computer algorithm predicts the next likely letters and only presents the relevant ones.
Aids to the Examination of the Peripheral Nervous System by D. Riddoch