EEG-Based Communication: Prospects and Problems

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Muscles, Communication system control, Lesions, Electroencephalography, Spinal cord injury, Prosthetics, Degenerative diseases, Multiple sclerosis, Birth disorders, Spinal cord

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Current rehabilitation engineering combines new prosthetic methods with recent developments in personal computers to provide alternative communication and control channels to individuals with motor impairments. Despite these advances, all commercially available systems still require some measure of voluntary motor control. Thus, these systems are not useful for individuals who are totally paralyzed. Electroencephalographic (EEG) activity may provide the basis for a system that would completely bypass normal motor output. EEG-based communication technology might provide assistive devices for individuals who have little or no reliable motor function. This paper reviews the prospects for and problems of EEG-based communication. It summarizes current approaches to development of this new technology, describes the major problems that must be resolved, and focuses on issues critical for its use by those with severe motor disabilities.

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IEEE Transactions on Rehabilitation Engineering, v. 4, issue 4, p. 425-430