Non-Invasive BCI through EEG
It has long been known that as neurons fire within the brain they produce measurable electrical activity. Electroencephalography (EEG) is the measurement and recording of these electrical signals using sensors arrayed across the scalp. Though there is copious research in using EEG technology in the fields of neuroscience and cognitive psychology, it is only recently that the possibility of utilizing EEG measurements as inputs in the control of computers has emerged. The idea of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) which allow the control of devices using brain signals evolved from the realm of science fiction to simple devices that currently exist. BCIs naturally present themselves to many extremely useful applications including prosthetic devices, restoring or aiding in communication and hearing, military applications, video gaming and virtual reality, and robotic control, and have the possibility of significantly improving the quality of life of many disabled individuals. However, current BCIs suffer from many problems including inaccuracies, delays between thought, detection, and action, exorbitant costs, and invasive surgeries. The purpose of this research is to examine the Emotiv EPOC© System as a cost-effective gateway to non-invasive portable EEG measurements and utilize it to build a thought-based BCI to control the Parallax Scribbler® robot. This research furthers the analysis of the current pros and cons of EEG technology as it pertains to BCIs and offers a glimpse of the future potential capabilities of BCI systems.