Brain-Computer Interfaces (or BCI) have become a hot topic in both science and popular culture. The basic notion of using one’s brain as direct input for both the control and exchange of information with a computer system sparks the imagination. Visions of keyboardless, computers and adaptive command centres often spring to mind. At the University of Twente’s BMS Lab, we work on realizing these visions. Together with our Partners at Thales, Artinis Medical Systems, Noldus Information Technologies, and ANT Neuro, we are setting up a testing ground within two projects and a development centre at the BMS Lab for both the fundamental science and BCI applications. Thanks to years of experience with the use of EEG equipment and the underlying science, the BMS Lab can facilitate, develop and support the BCI testbed.
It is of great importance to gain insight into the mental states of operators in complex system environments such as control rooms. Previous research has shown that mental states such as workload and alertness of operators have an influence on performance. And that these states can lead to human errors with all the consequences. At the moment, however, no sensors are being used that measure human functioning in interaction with high-tech systems. A light will illuminate if the system is not functioning. But no light goes on if the person or the team does not function properly and threatens to fail. For example, an operator is overloaded, and bored and as a result may be less alert or concentrated.
In the Efro Alert project, we worked together with:
Work has started on realizing the potential of the BCI testbed. The research will consist of two main stages, namely, the sensing and utilization of brain signals and the development of applications with practical value. Researchers working for both the partners and the University of Twente are working together to tackle the challenges they face within the various underlying projects. The further development of the BCI testbed and its applications has become one of the long-term knowledge development projects within the scope of the BMS Lab and will feature in future projects.
The research project at the BMS Lab is defined by a focus on adaptability to the human state of mind. Three use cases serve as the basis for the research being conducted at the BCI testbed. All three use cases have a common theme based on the feedback from sensors, like those measuring brain activity (EEG), heart rate, or stress, to adapt and change what machines are showing or how processes are being run.
Stages within the project
The following three use cases form the basis of the BCI testbed:
BCI Testbed in the media
The BCI testbed has gathered attention in the media due to its versatile uses and implications. From radio interviews to numerous news articles all inspired by the great potential for generating new knowledge as well as new findings and their connotations. Furthermore, additional articles have been written about the functionalities and benefits and promising projects of the BCI testbed, such as the ones by Noldus, HBA Lab and Artinis. Most significantly, master’s student Interaction Technology, Max Slutter’s project has been further covered UToday and Ad.nl. Additionally, the project was covered in Radio 538 interview and in UT’s newspaper.
In the BCI Testbed project, we worked together with the following:
Apart from the media, our projects have inspired a broad body of research within the BMS Lab. Examples of the research conducted and published so far include:
- Dolmans, T. C., Poel, M., van’t Klooster, J.W.J.R., & Veldkamp, B.P. (2021). Perceived Mental Workload Classification Using Intermediate Fusion Multimodal Deep Learning. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2020.609096
- Slutter MWJ, Thammasan N and Poel M (2021) Exploring the Brain Activity Related to Missing Penalty Kicks: An fNIRS Study. Front. Comput. Sci. 3:661466. doi: 10.3389/fcomp.2021.661466
- Gouweleeuw, K. (2021). Using Neurophysiological Signals to Measure Social Exclusion Induced by a Language Barrier. (M.Sc). University of Twente, Enschede.
- Groothaar, L. (2021) The personalized audio tour. (B.Sc.). University of Twente, Enschede.
- Mul, Marissa (2021) Enhancing museum experience through augmented reality interaction. (B.SC.). University of Twente, Enschede.
- Luiten, Simone (2021) Improving the experience and engagement of museum visitors by means of EEG and interactive screens. (B.Sc.). University of Twente, Enschede.
- Slutters, M. (2020). Exploring the brain activity related to missing penalty kicks: a fNIRS study. (M.Sc.). University of Twente, Enschede.
- Waardenburg, F.H. (2021) Mirror therapy in Virtual Reality by a brain-computer interface for amputees experiencing phantom limb pain. (B.Sc.). University of Twente, Enschede.
- de With, L. (2020). Using Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy to Meausre a Fear of Heights Response to a Virtual Reality Environment. (M.Sc.). University of Twente, Enschede.