[W1/2.3] – Amber 2
Consciousness Assessment and Motor Rehabilitation with BCI



Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) research has been a hot topic in the past decades all over the world. BCIs, which provide a direct connection from the human brain to a computer, translate brain activity into control signals for numerous applications, including tools to help patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC) as well as to improve stroke recovery. Imagine being able to think, hear, and feel – but not to move or communicate. Over 40% of patients diagnosed as vegetative are reclassified as (at least) minimally conscious when assessed by expert teams. A further subset of potentially communicative non-responsive patients might be undetectable through standard clinical testing. This part of the workshop will give an overview over groups that aim to use BCI technology to identify non-responsive patients that might be able to communicate and will introduce state-of-the-art technology for advanced consciousness assessment.Furthermore, in the last few years a totally novel and promising application for motor-imagery (MI) based BCIs has gained great attention. Several recent articles have shown that MI-based BCIs can induce neural plasticity and thus serve as an important tool to enhance motor rehabilitation for stroke patients. In other words, the overall goal of the BCI system is not communication, but improved stroke recovery by activating the sensorimotor cortex. This activation is translated into control signals for rehabilitation devices like Virtual Reality environments showing moving limbs of avatars, robotic devices attached to the patient’s paralyzed limbs such as exoskeletons, or functional electrical stimulation. The audience will get familiar with all the required hardware and software, procedures for cap mounting, training and classifier setup, and BCI operation for both approaches. We will invite audience members to participate in live demonstrations, providing real-world examples of modern BCI performance in field settings.


g.tec Guger Technologies OG

List of Speakers

Gernot Müller-Putz is head of the Institute for Knowledge Discovery and its associated BCI Lab. He received his M.Sc. in 2000 from Graz University of Technology, in 2004 he finished his PhD, also TU Graz. 2008 he received the “venia docendi” for medical informatics at the faculty of computer science, TU Graz. Since October 2014 he has been full professor for semantic data analysis. He has gained extensive experience in the field of biosignalanalysis, brain-computer interface research, EEG based neuroprosthesis control, hybrid BCI systems, the human somatosensory system, and assistive technology over the past 15 years. He has also managed several national and international projects and is currently partner in 2 EU FP7 projects (BackHome, ABC) and coordinator of BNCI Horizon 2020. Recently, he received a Horizon 2020 project, MoreGrasp, which will be coordinated by him. Furthermore, he organized and hosted six international Brain-Computer Interface Conferences over the last 13 years in Graz, the last one in Sept. 2014 in Graz. He is also steering board member for the International BCI Meeting, which takes place in the US usually every three years (last time in 2013). He is review editor of Frontiers in Neuroprosthetics, and Associate Editor of the Brain-Computer Interface Journal and of the IEEE Transactions of Biomedical Engineering.

Tomasz M. Rutkowski, PhD received his M.Sc. in Electronics and Ph.D. in Telecommunications and Acoustics from Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland, in 1994 and 2002, respectively. He received postdoctoral training at the Multimedia Laboratory, Kyoto University, and in 2005-2010 he worked as a research scientist at RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan. Currently he serves as Assistant Professor at the University of Tsukuba, and as a visiting scientist at RIKEN Brain Science Institute. Professor Rutkowski’s research interests include computational neuroscience, especially brain-computer interfacing technologies, computational modeling of brain processes, neurobiological signal and information processing, multimedia interfaces and interactive technology design. Professor Rutkowski and his team received The Annual BCI Research Award 2014 for their project “Airborne Ultrasonic Tactile Display BCI.”

Dipl.-Ing. Robert Prueckl, g.tec Guger Technologies OG, Austria, studied computer science at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, and carried out research work in the area of brain computer interfaces, acute electrophysiological animal studies using spikes, as well as functional real-time mapping of high gamma activity using ECoG. Robert Prueckl is part of g.tec since the year 2008. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis “A Real-Time Rapid-Prototyping System for Electrophysiological Research” which will comprise various experiments with single- and multi-unit activity performed with animals, as well as human ECoG and EEG experiments using real-time closed-loop distributed systems and parallel processing.

Kyousuke Kamada, MD, PhD is professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Asahikawa Medical University in Hokkaido, Japan since 2010. His professional career includes research periods at the Hokkaido University, Japan from 1988-1991, the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany from 1997-1997, where his research was about the clinical application of MEG, fMRI and MR spectroscopy. Furthermore he was research associate at the Georgetown University, Washington D.C., USA from 1997-1998 and an associate professor of neurosurgery, at the University of Tokyo, Japan from 2003-2009. His main research interests include functional brain mapping and brain-computer interfaces.

Nuri Firat Ince, PhD is professor and head of the Clinical Neural Engineering Laboratory in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Houston, Texas, USA. His activities include a variety of basic and translational research in neural engineering and biomedical signal processing. Areas of special interest are: neural decoding for neuroprosthetics; machine learning for neuromarker discovery in cognitive and movement disorders; development of embedded wearable wireless sensors and their integration to intelligent systems for healthcare and assisted living. Dr. Ince’s group contribute not only to algorithm development but also to the discovery of new methods for diagnosis and therapy that can be applied in clinical practice. In this scheme, his laboratory works closely with clinicians and researchers from diverse fields such as neuroscience, neurosurgery and neurology.

Brief agenda

  • Introduction to BCI – Concepts and Technologies (R. Prueckl)
  • Talk (T. Rutkowski: “Multisensory and stimulus-driven BCIs”)
  • Talk (N. Firat: “Brain Mapping of Fine Hand Movements with High Resolution ECoG”)
  • Talk (G. Müller-Putz: “Towards Non-Invasive EEG-based Neuroprosthesis Control in Spinal Cord Injury”)
  • Talk (K. Kamada: “Acute and Chronic Functional Reorganization on Electrocorticogram for Application of BCI”)
  • Practical demonstration (R. Prueckl)