A non-invasive communication device for the paralyzed

J. Kaiser, A. Kübler, T. Hinterberger, N. Neumann, N. Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An EEG-based communication system has been developed to reestablish communication in severely paralyzed patients who operate the device by generating shifts of their slow cortical potentials. Training to gain control over slow cortical potentials was based on visual feedback and operant conditioning strategies. The vertical movement of a graphic signal on a computer screen informs the patients about the course of their slow cortical potential amplitude. Positive slow cortical potential shifts move the cursor up, negative shifts move it down. These shifts are then translated into binary responses. When a patient has achieved reliable control over his/her slow cortical potential shifts, these responses can be used to select or reject items presented at the bottom of the screen. As learning processes and applications differ considerably between patients, the present paper describes the data from one patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. After about three months of training, this patient gained stable, near-perfect control over his slow cortical potentials. This skill enabled him to operate a specially designed program to communicate messages to his caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
JournalMinimally Invasive Neurosurgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Brain-computer interface
  • Communication
  • Slow cortical potentials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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