Brain-machine interfaces


Brain-machine interfaces

Bridging the gap between human and machine minds. Post latest research, news and events in the field of BMI. Join us to stay up-to-date on the recent advances in your field. Participate in creative discussions.

Members: 133
Latest Activity: May 10

Welcome to the Brain-Machine Interfaces group!

new members Tell us about your research, why are you interested in brain-machine interfaces, share the link to your homepage or LinkedIn profile so we will know our heroes :) Write on the wall

This group is dedicated to a rapidly developing set of technologies - commonly known as brain-machine interfaces (BMI) - with a broad span of nearly-futuristic applications. Currently it allows for:

Future applications include:

... and many others

How do Brain-Machine Interfaces work?

If you're interested in how current BMIs work, visit this page How Brain-computer Interfaces Work. And of course, there are lots of information on history and recent developments in BMI on Wikipedia page.

For more in-depth information, see the following list of scientific papers. I've separated them into categories. "Review papers" are general articles that describe various BMI developed by the time the article was written. Other papers describe specific approaches to BMI.

Review papers

2006 | Lebedev A, Nicolelis MA | Trends in Neurosciences
Brain-machine interfaces: past, present and future

2002 | Wolpaw J, Birbaumer N, McFarland D | Clinical Neurophysiology | recommended
Brain-computer interfaces for communication and control

2002 | Donoghue JP | Nature Neuroscience
Connecting cortex to machines: recent advances in brain interfaces

2000 | Heetderks WJ, McFarland DJ, et al | IEEE Transactions on Rehabilitation Engineering
Brain-computer interface technology: a review of the first international meeting

P300 spellers

This type of BMI (used in e.g. Intendix system) looks like an on-screen keyboard that allows you to type text by the power of thought.

2008 | U Hoffmann, JM Vesin, T Ebrahimi, et al | Journal of Neuroscience Methods
An efficient P300-based brain-computer interface for disabled subjects

2006 | EW Sellers, E Donchin | Clinical Neurophysiology
A P300-based brain-computer interface: Initial tests by ALS patients

2006 | DJ Krusienski, EW Sellers, et al | Journal of Neural Engineering
A comparison of classification techniques for the P300 speller

1988 | Farwell LA, Donchin E. | Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
Talking off the top of your head: toward a mental prothesis utilizing event-related brain potentials.
Paper pioneering the P300 approach to BMI

Other approaches

2008 | Velliste M, Perel S, et al | Nature
Cortical control of a prosthetic arm for self-feeding

2006 | Hochberg L, Serruya M, et al | Nature
Neuronal ensemble control of prosthetic devices by a human with tetraplegia

2005 | EC Lalor, SP Kelly, et al | EURASIP Journal on Applied Signal Processing
Steady-state VEP-based brain-computer interface control in an immersive 3D gaming environment

2004 | Wolpaw J, McFarland D | PNAS
Control of a two-dimensional movement signal by a noninvasive brain-computer interface in humans

2003 | X Gao, D Xu, M Cheng, et al | Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on
A BCI-based environmental controller for the motion-disabled

2003 | Carmena JM, Lebedev MA, et al. | PLoS Biology
Learning to Control a Brain–Machine Interface for Reaching and Grasping by Primates

Another good list of research papers on BMI topic can be found here

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Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Brain-machine interfaces to add comments!

Comment by Abdulrahman J Sabbagh on April 15, 2011 at 4:46am

Dear Alexandra

Wow!  Great articel, actually inspiring

Thanks for sharing

Comment by Alexandra Elbakyan on April 14, 2011 at 11:33pm
A cell-phone-based brain–computer interface for communication in daily life

researchers from the University of California in San Diego have developed a Bluetooth device that allows the wearer to dial a phone by concentrating on the numbers they would normally just input manually. Their experimental device was the subject of a recent study, published in the Journal of Neural Engineering [source]

Comment by Brendan Allison on April 14, 2011 at 1:28pm



@Alexandra: Yes, I will speak there. I was also a speaker at their 2008 conference, which was very well organized. I definitely recommend their conference next month!

Comment by Alexandra Elbakyan on April 14, 2011 at 1:09pm
Comment by Nasir Raza Awan on April 8, 2011 at 11:47am

Great work Alexandra. It's a beautiful group that you've started here, something I've been following from the day of its inception. (I'm one of the first members of your group and was the first one to post here!)


As a functional neurosurgeon having been actively involved with DBS implantation, I would tend to agree with Alexandra that, in its strictest sense, DBS is *not* a BMI. (Sorry Pratik!) Yes, it does modulate neuronal activity by induced currents but that is not a two-way interaction.


Of the four references in Alexandra's comment below, the first one is a paper in Neurosurgical Focus. Although it's a neurosurgical journal, July 2009 issue was dedicated to BMIs and I also had a paper published on DBS in the same issue. ( In the final section of the paper, (DBS and BMIs) this distinction between the two is emphasized. DBS electrodes as we have them today, can only constitute a part of the BMIs and should be differentiated from BMIs till the development of such electroded which can record as well as stimulate, based on the recording - a true "pace maker". That kind would be much closer to the definition of a BMI.


Congratulations on getting 100 people on board!  :-) 

Comment by Alexandra Elbakyan on April 6, 2011 at 11:27pm
In reply to Pratik

My opinion here is:

1 DBS implant is not communication but modulation channel
2 To include the whole nervous system, perhaps "direct neural interface" fits the best
3 If DBS is not called BMI in the literature, we cannot say it is BMI in a strict sense, regardless of similarities between these technologies.

Anyway, I found a number of references where DBS is assumed to be a type of BMI (here, here, here and here) so perhaps we can say DBS is BMI in a strict sense.
Comment by Alexandra Elbakyan on April 6, 2011 at 10:31pm
Our group has reached 100 members today!
Comment by Pratik Yashvant Chhatbar on April 6, 2011 at 8:25pm

In reply to: 'Comment by Alexandra Elbakyan on April 1, 2011 at 11:00pm'


If I look at the definition of a BMI in strict sense, I would classify DBS technology for Parkinsonian/OCD patients as BMI - as this DBS implant serves as a communication channel to the brain.. I actually would extend the definition of BMI to include not only the brain but whole nervous system, so that peripheral nerve implants (like vagal nerve, for depression and slanted Utah array for peripheral nerve stimulation) also get included in 'BMI'.. What does everyone think?

Comment by Alexandra Elbakyan on April 5, 2011 at 1:55pm
GOOD NEWS for invasive BCI folks here "A tetraplegia patient with an implanted brain-computer interface was able to control a computer cursor accurately through neural activity alone more than 1,000 days after receiving the implant..." read
Comment by Brendan Allison on April 2, 2011 at 6:48am

Hello all, I have some important news for this board. To my knowledge, this is the first public posting of this information, which I have been authorized to publicly release by the European Commission.


The EC has decided that there will be no funding for BCI research in the remainder of the Seventh Framework Programme, and also none at all in the Eighth Framework! They also informed me that the roadmap that we are developing for the European Commission through our FBNCI project is the *only way* this might change. This could influence funding decisions on the scale of at least the high tens of millions of euros. Funding decisions that impact many BCI related fields (some of which will also get cut) and decisions by other funding entities. Funding decisions that could dramatically affect our beloved research field and many of our careers.


Do not kill the messenger. I am not responsible for this decision and think it would be unwise. I am working against it through our roadmap. Since receiving this news a month ago during our meeting in Brussels, I have been averaging 105 hours a week on the roadmap. My team has also been working heroically. There are hence many portions of the roadmap on our website on the roadmap tab, so we’re now ready to engage people. Comments and endorsements would be nice, but what we really need are contributions. FBNCI is a small and underfunded project. Our contract with the European Commission specifies what the roadmap will address, and it focuses mainly on conventional BCIs as defined in the literature (e.g., Wolpaw et al., 2002 and Pfurtscheller et al., 2010).


This means that the only way our roadmap will adequately address neurotechnologies that are not BCIs is with outside contributions. The EC also instructed me to contact broader groups and try to solicit their help by telling them that this roadmap will be the deciding factor in their funding decisions. If you'd like to contribute, please visit our website and check out what we developed already and email me. Thanks!!



Dr. Brendan Allison

Graz University of Technology

Future BNCI Project Coordinator


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