Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 18:09 Written by Brendan Allison Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:02
Future BNCI was a project devoted to helping BCI research and the BCI research community. We explored future directions with BCIs and a newly emerging class of systems called BNCIs. These terms, and basic information about BCIs and BNCIs, can be found under the "About BCIs" tab. We also produced a roadmap, which can be found under the "Roadmap" tab. This material, like most material on this page, is aimed at non-experts. That is, you do not need an advanced degree or any specialized knowledge to understand most of the material on this page.
Future BNCI was a two year project that began in Jan 2010 and ended in Dec 2011. Our project was responsible for producing completed accomplishments (called deliverables) at specific times. For example, we were responsible for providing information for the BCI community and other groups about our project, other projects, and BCI and BNCI research in general. We did this "dissemination" through various methods, such as this website and professional talks and posters at scientific conferences. We also produced a conference, six reports from that conference, various papers in peer-reviewed journals and books, three one-day special sessions along with established conferences, and one entire book with Springer Publishing. We helped to explore the best future research opportunities in different aspects of BCI research, such as which signals and sensors are most promising, which groups of users are most likely in the near future, and which interfaces are best. We developed a roadmap to try to identify obstacles and opportunities for collaboration. More details can be found under the "Accomplishments" section under "Our Project."
We tried to encourage interaction among different groups with different backgrounds. This research field requires different disciplines. In fact, the most heavily cited research paper about BCIs, written by Jon Wolpaw and colleagues in 2002, says: "Future progress will depend on: recognition that BCI research and development is an interdisciplinary problem, involving neurobiology, psychology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science; ...." Future BNCI will also encourage collaboration across different research projects and across different sectors (such as academic, commercial, medical, and nonprofit). Our project is funded through the European Commission, and thus through tax money. Our project (including this website) does not accept donations, stipends, or advertising. Click on other sections of this "Our Project" tab to learn more about our project, our team, our work so far, or other matters.
To learn more, please download our roadmap or click on the "Accomplishments" tab of this web page.
Here is the abstract for the Future BNCI project, as recorded in official EU documents such as our grant agreement:
Brain Computer Interface (BCI) systems allow communication through direct measures of brain activity. Users can spell, move cursors, browse the internet, and control robotic devices such as prosthetics or wheelchairs with thought alone. BNCI systems are similar, but can also rely on indirect measures of brain activity. Rapid progress in BCI and BNCI research is creating a number of new opportunities across a much wider range of potential users than previously recognized. Unfortunately, the many new developments and new research groups lead to two problems. First, key terms and definitions are confusing, outdated, nonexistent, and/or only sporadically accepted by people and groups from different backgrounds. There is no clear agreement on fundamental terms like BCI and BNCI. This confusion impedes development of standards and roadmaps for both academic and commercial efforts. It is also difficult to organize conferences, workshops, special journal editions, expositions, or electronic collaboration resources for a field that is unknown and poorly defined. Second, there are widely differing views on how to capitalize on recent progress and which avenues for future development merit the most attention. These problems will only get worse without an effective coordination effort. It seems unlikely that any project can align constituencies and prepare future joint researches and roadmaps when the relevant disciplines and stakeholders are not even clearly identified. Future directions in BNCI systems (Future BNCI) will identify which opportunities are (and aren’t) promising across all four components of a BCI system: sensors and signals; signal processing; applications and devices; and interfaces and operating environments. These four components will be addressed through three COORD WPs, and another COORD WP will discuss Standards and Dissemination. This project will establish and entrench key terms, definitions, and standards. Knowledge will be disseminated through a conference, workshops, special sessions, a book through a major publisher, other peer reviewed publications, and informal interactions with key stakeholders in BCI and related research. A website will promote both commercial and academic development with links, downloadable materials, and free information about BCI basics, research groups and people, conferences, news events, and publications. These advancements will counteract the growing confusion, miscommunication, inefficiency, and stakeholder fragmentation within BCI research, and establish the foundations necessary to transform BCIs from their infancy to a mature, coordinated, mainstream, high impact research and development endeavour. The end result will be a coherent, efficient BCI community capable of making a strong impact on EU dominance and helping a greatly expanding number of potential users.