1999 Conference Proceedings

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CYBERLINK MINDMOUSE: APPLICATIONS OF BRAIN WAVE COMPUTER CONTROL

Dr. Mary Christen
Leapfrog Technologies, Inc.
4402 E. Mountain View Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85028
mary@mindmouse.com 

Dr. Andrew Junker
Brain Actuated Technologies
Inc., 139 E. Davis
Yellow Springs, OH
admin@brainfingers.com

The presentation will discuss how Dr. Mary Christen's junior high school students with severe physical and communication challenges discovered Dr. Andrew Junker and his brain actuated technology and incorporated it into their classroom. A 1994 airline magazine article discussing the innovative technology led Dr. Christen to suggest researching the information for a semester project to one of her students who had been unsuccessful in numerous attempts to use switches for computer access. The search for information on using brain waves to make life easier for individuals with physical challenges led this student, teacher, and the entire class to Dr. Andrew Junker, co-presenter and the inventor of the Cyberlink(tm) Interface.

The student wrote her first letter to the inventor, producing over four weeks of eye gazing dictation to compose her one page letter expressing interest in trying the system. The presenters will describe the reactions of the students to the process that developed following Dr. Junker's phone call to the classroom and his description of the Cyberlink(tm) Interface which represented a new paradigm for the processing and feedback of electrical signals measured from the head. For the teacher and students, this translated into hands free technology access without the need to physically hit a switch.

The Cyberlink(tm) System can perhaps be thought of as the next step in the evolution of the human-computer input interface. The Cyberlink(tm) System is controlled by the voltages found on the surface of the forehead. When the muscles of the body contract a corresponding voltage can be detected on the surface of the skin. In a similar fashion the actions of the brain result in the production of voltages that migrate to the surface of the skin. These voltages, which we refer to as bio-potentials, are the signals that drive the Cyberlink(tm) system. Since the voltages at the forehead are the result of both brain and body activity the Cyberlink(tm) system represents a brain-body actuated control technology. The Cyberlink(tm) system combines eye-movement, facial muscle, and brain wave bio-potentials detected at the user's forehead to generate computer inputs that can be used for a variety of tasks and recreations.

The forehead is a convenient, non-invasive measuring site rich in a variety of bio-potentials. Signals detected by three plastic sensors in a headband are sent to a Cyberlink(tm) interface box that contains a bio-amplifier and signal processor. The interface box connects to the PC computer's serial port. The forehead signals are amplified, digitized and translated by a patented decoding algorithm into multiple command signals, creating an efficient, intuitive and easily learned hands-free control interface.

Three different types or channels of control signals are derived from the forehead signals by the Cyberlink(tm) Interface. The lowest frequency channel is called the ElectroOculoGraphic or EOG signal. This is a frequency region of the forehead bio-potential that is responsive primarily to eye movements. The EOG signal is typically used to detect left and right eye motion. This signal can be mapped to left and right cursor motion or on/off switch control.

The second type of control signal is called the ElectroEncephaloGraphic or EEG signal. The Cyberlink(tm) Interface subdivides this region into ten component frequency bands called 'Brainfinger(tm)'. These frequencies reflect internal mental/brain-wave activity as well as subtle facial muscle activity. A wide range of facial muscles affects these frequency bands. Users typically learn control of their Brainfinger(tm) first through subtle tensing and relaxing of various muscles including forehead, eye and jaw muscles. After a little experience with the Cyberlink(tm) System, most users begin to experiment with more efficient, internal brain-based control methods. Since this frequency region is sensitive to both mental and muscular signals it is called the 'Brain-Body' signal.

Brainfinger(tm) control is continuous or analog and is typically used for such things as control of cursor vertical or horizontal movement. For example, one Brainfinger(tm) may be used to control vertical movement while a second Brainfinger(tm) (or other signal channel) is used to control horizontal movement.

The third channel is called the ElectroMyoGraphic or EMG signal. The EMG signal primarily reflects facial muscle activity. It is typically used in the Cyberlink(tm) System for discrete on/off control of program commands, switch closures, keyboard commands, and the functions of the left and right mouse buttons.

In a Cyberlink(tm) discrete control study conducted by the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, subjects' reaction times to visual stimuli were found to be 15% faster with the Cyberlink(tm) EMG button than with a manual button.

Specific facial and eye movement gestures can be discriminated by the Cyberlink(tm) software and mapped to separate mouse, keyboard, and program functions.

Continuous and discrete control capabilities have been incorporated into a Windows 95 mouse driver, the Cyberlink Actuated Tracker, or CAT(tm). This hands-free mouse enables the user to steer the cursor, change its speed and resolution, perform left and right mouse button functions, and send keyboard characters and character string commands. The CAT(tm) features a selection of user-formatted control paradigms.

The CAT(TM) makes hands-free two-axis control possible not only with Cyberlink(tm) specific games and applications, but also with third-party software; including popular interactive games, word processors, spread sheets, and Computer-Aided Design programs as well as special-needs software such as Gus, Words Plus EZ Keys, WiViK2 and Clicker Plus. The CAT(TM) can be used for hands-free environmental control using an X-10 Home Controller relay for example to switch on and off an electric light, appliance, or communication device.

For individuals with limited control of their facial muscles, the Cyberlink(tm) software can be formatted to use Brain-Body or EOG inputs (instead of EMG) to activate switch closures and mouse button clicks.

The Cyberlink(tm) System provides an intuitive, more direct, easily learned, hands-free, language-independent control interface. It represents a cutting-edge technological achievement in the user-computer interface making possible new computer control methods to empower the user with special needs and all users of tomorrow's technology.

The audience will see video tape of individuals with severe physical disabilities accessing the computer with the Cyberlink(tm) system to play video games and move a cursor through a maze as precursor training for increased brain wave mouse control. The presenters will share reactions of the students to the Cyberlink(tm) system as well presenting the experiences of other individuals including those with advanced ALS, Cerebral Palsy, and Traumatic Brain Injuries who have begun using the breakthrough technology to access the Internet, on-screen keyboards, and a variety of other computer applications. These individuals shared with the presenters their increased hopefulness and motivation as they talked of doors opening not only in education, but also activities of daily living, leisure activities, and job potential.

The use of the Cyberlink(tm) system with a computer will be demonstrated. Through this demonstration, the audience will see an individual put on the Cyberlink(tm) headband containing the three sensors and begin to control the computer. On screen, the audience will see the evidence of the person's changing physiological state as it is monitored and then amplified into electrical signals which are broadcast to the computer which decodes it into recognized commands. The presentation will demonstrate how the training software helps the user to learn to control the computer through the biofeedback paradigm provided in the non threatening venue of on screen visual presentations of the users brain and body signals and video games such as Pong and Tetris. This training facilitates the development of precursor skills for the higher level skills needed for written and voice output communication of the Internet and other third party applications using windows 95/98. A demonstration of the music generation program, on screen keyboards and other more advanced applications will give the audience the sense of the wide range of potential for this Cyberlink(tm) interface brain actuated technology.


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