Brain-computer interfaces for navigation in virtual realities
Contact: Dipl.-Ing. Sebastian Baecke
The goal of this project is the design and implementation of a VR (Virtual Reality) stimulus environment for real-time fMRI studies. Virtual reality means a computer-simulated environment, which provides synthetic experience to their users.
Due to these in-depth visualization, everyday processes should be represented more realistic and the attention of the subjects should be increased by more interaction with the paradigm.
In an fMRI measurement the brain activation, within the motor cortex of subjects, were measured and classified. Based on these recorded brain activation pattern and an implemented decision algorithm, it was possible for the probands, to move an avatar through a virtual Labyrinth.
Real-time fMRI (rtfMRT) combined with neurofeedback systems opens up new possibilities for complex brain-computer interfaces (BCI) such as activation-dependent interactions between subject and Virtual Reality (VR) environment. Here, an application is presented that enables interactions with a virtual 3D-maze using self-regulated brain activation. Without previous training, the subjects were able to navigate through the VR by regulating their activation. Depending on brain activation, the software system selected and executed the corresponding movement. Due to the bi-directional communication, the subjects and the VR-framework were able to respond to the results of the data analysis.
Sample application: Realtime-fMRI virtual reality experiment