Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Race
In the BCI Race, pilots will brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) to control avatars in a specially developed computer game.
Brain-computer interfaces can read your mind! Today’s BCIs can measure brain signals anyway, and there are plans to develop this technology further so that in future it will allow people with quadriplegia to control different kinds of devices, e.g., computers, robotic arms, and wheelchairs. The BCI race will test the reliability and precision of this technology in a virtual game.
A computer game was developed for the Cybathlon allowing pilots to move an avatar through a series of different obstacles with your thoughts.
The pilots participating in the BCI race have complete or severe loss of motor function (i.e. paralysis) at the neck level due to a spinal cord injury (SCI), stroke, neurological disease, or another trauma. Most teams use electroencephalography (EEG) to detect brain signals; however, other methods, such as near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), are allowed.
Thoughts must be transmitted correctly. The avatar moves correctly and quickly only if the computer receives the correct brain signal at a specific moment. If the computer receives the wrong brain signal at the wrong moment, the avatar slows down.
Explanation of the CYBATHLON 2016 game:
- ROTATE: the avatar rotates (dances) over the playing pads (blue)
- JUMP: the avatar jumps over spikes (purple)
- SLIDE: the avatar slides under the "dangerous rays" (yellow)
- NO INPUT: on the natural fields (gray), the pilot must "think nothing" to prevent tthe avatar from slowing down.