Controlling by Thought? – Brain Computer Interfaces and Embedded Brain Reading – An Introduction
Elsa Andrea Kirchner
series DFKI Documents, volume 14-07, Nov/2014. DFKI GmbH, Universität Bremen.
Machines, like PCs or robots, can be controlled by brain signals. Brain activity is often used to reestablish
communication and control for human that are disabled to move or to communicate. Brain computer
interfaces, which are used to link the human brain with a machine, do often require the attention of the
human to enable explicit control. For such approaches it is unimportant how and which brain signal is used.
Highest relevance has robustness and easiness. Using brain activity for the support of healthy people brings
new challenges. Adding the link between brain and machine must not require extra cognitive resources from
the human. Thus, for many applications a rather passive approach that uses brain activity implicitly should
be chosen. However, beside the question on how to use brain activity, i.e., implicitly or explicitly, other
questions are also relevant for the development of intelligent and intuitive interfaces for control or support.
For example, other technical or physiological data can improve reliability but bring along challenges for signal
processing and classification and must be handled by adequate software frameworks.