Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 18:08 Written by Brendan Allison Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:13
Future BNCI was a project funded by the Seventh Framework of the European Commission (Project number ICT-248320). Future BNCI ended in December 2011. Our project was led by a consortium of four institutions: Graz University of Technology (TU Graz or just TUG), University of Twente (UT), Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), and Starlab. This section describes these four institutions and the key contacts who work on Future BNCI. Please also see the "Our Materials" section for downloadable files relating to Future BNCI, and the "Roadmap" tab for a roadmap that includes a summary of Future BNCI.
Technische Universitaet Graz (Graz University of Technology)
The Graz University of Technology, established in 1811, consists of seven faculties and has about 8,000 students. The Laboratory of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI Lab) belongs to the Institute of Knowledge Discovery, which is part of the Faculty of Computer Science. The BCI Lab has been one of the world’s top BCI labs since the birth of BCI research. The BCI Lab has extensive expertise in EEG recording, offline and online processing of brain signals and biosignals in general, feature extraction, detection and classification of brain patterns, neurofeedback systems, and working with persons with many different motor disabilities. The so-called "Graz BCI" was one of the first online EEG-based BCIs. Various applications for this system, including spelling devices, computer games, functional electrical stimulation (FES), and navigation in virtual environments have been developed and tested in healthy users and several patient populations. TUG successfully organized four major international BCI conferences over the last 8 years and plans a fifth conference in 2011. Besides numerous national projects, the BCI Lab participated in a number of cooperative international projects such as the NIH (USA) project "EEG-based Brain-Computer Interface" (1992-2003), the EU projects "Siesta" (1997-2000) and "Presencia" (2002-2005), and the NIH (USA) project "Direct Brain Interface" (2001-2006). The lab is currently partner of the EU projects "Presenccia" (2006-2009), "Eye-To-IT" (2006-2009), Neuromath (2007-2011), and “TOBI” (2008-2012). TUG is also a partner in three other call 4 projects that begain in early 2010: BrainAble, BETTER, and DECODER. This involvement with other call 4 projects places TUG in an excellent position to interact with cluster partners. TUG will lead the WPs for Project Coordination and for Roadmaps and Dissemination, and will contribute to all other WPs.
Prof. Dr. Christa Neuper is head of the Institute for Knowledge Discovery at the Graz University of Technology and full professor of neuropsychology at the University of Graz. She is also the Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Graz. She received her PhD degree in psychology in 1984. Since 1990, she has been involved in the pioneering development of EEG-based brain-computer communication at the Graz University of Technology. Her main research areas include the study of brain dynamics of cognitive processes, functional brain diagnostics, neurofeedback systems, and BCIs based on EEG and/or NIRS. In October 2011, Prof. Neuper became the new Rektor of Karl Franzens University, and was replaced by Prof. Dr. Gernot Müller-Putz.
Prof. Dr. Christa Neuper
Technische Universitaet Graz
Dr. Brendan Allison received his PhD in Cognitive Science 2003 at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). He then completed postdoctoral work at the Wolpaw BCI lab in Albany, Polich lab at The Scripps Research Institute, and University of Bremen. He has over 15 years’ experience conducting scientific EEG research with human subjects. Most of his work involved BCI systems, and he also developed a workload detector using EEG and HR measures. He is currently a senior postdoctoral researcher at TUG. He wrote and was Program Manager for the BRAIN STREP project (BCIs with Rapid Automated Interfaces for Nonexperts) before the project began, Project number 224156. This project focuses on practical BCIs for nonexpert users, which is a major theme in Future BNCI. Further, Dr. Allison has a strong interest in identifying and exploiting future BNCI directions (e.g., Allison and Pineda, 2006; Allison et al., 2007; Nijholt et al., 2008; Allison, in press). He is the Project Coordinator in Future BNCI.
Technische Universitaet Graz
Dr. Allison's CV is available - please click here.
The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is one of the two Federal Institutes of Technology in Switzerland. EPFL brings together a campus of 10’000 people (of which 7’000 students) and 110 nationalities. It offers complete study courses in Engineering, Basic Sciences, Architecture, Life Sciences and Management. With its three missions—education, research and technology transfer at the highest international level—EPFL stimulates collaboration between students, professors, researchers and entrepreneurs. EPFL emphasizes both fundamental research and engineering applications, and its unique structure facilitates transdisciplinary research and encourages partnerships with other groups. EPFL will lead WP3 and contribute to the other three COORD WPs.
The School of Engineering consists of over 1'000 employees, and educates over 1'200 undergraduate and over 500 postgraduate students. It carries out advanced research in all the engineering disciplines (mechanical, electrical, micro and nanotechnology, material science and bioengineering) and puts a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research often in collaboration with the basic sciences and biology. This is the case of the newly-launched Center for Neuroprosthetics, which carries out research at the interface of neuroscience and bioengineering in an environment of both theoretical and experimental research, rich for the development of novel enabling technologies as well as for seeking deeper understanding of fundamental mechanisms underlying the field of neuroprosthetics.The Defitech Foundation Chair in Non-Invasive Brain-Machine Interaction(http://cnbi.epfl.ch/) carries out research on the direct use of human brain signals to control devices and interact with our environment. In this multidisciplinary research, we are bringing together our pioneering work on the two fields of brain-computer interfaces and adaptive intelligent robotics. A brain-computer interface (BCI) monitors the user's brain activity, extracts specific features from the brain signals that reflect the intent of the subject, and translates these features into actions -such as moving a wheelchair or selecting a letter from a virtual keyboard without using activity of any muscle or peripheral nerve.
Prof. José del R. Millán is a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). He is faculty at the School of Engineering and member of the Institute of Bioengineering and the Center for Neuroprosthetics. His current research interests are the use of brain signals for multimodal interaction and, in particular, the development of non-invasive brain-controlled robots and neuroprostheses. In this multidisciplinary research effort, Dr. Millán is bringing together his pioneering work on the two fields of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and adaptive intelligent robotics. Prior to joining EPFL, he has been a research scientist at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra, Italy, and a senior researcher at the Idiap Research Institute in Martigny, Switzerland. His research on BCI was nominated finalist of the European Descartes Prize 2001 and he was named “Research Leader 2004” by the journal Scientific American for his work on brain-controlled robots. The journal Science has reviewed his work as one of the world’s key researchers in the field of BCI. Dr. Millán is the coordinator of a number of international projects in the field of BCI (notably the European projects ABI, 1998-2001, MAIA, 2004-2007, and TOBI, 2008-2012) and also is a frequent keynote speaker at international events. His work on BCI has received wide media coverage around the world.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Dr. Robert Leeb received his MSc in electrical and biomedical engineering from TUG and Sheffield Hallam University in 2000. He then worked as a software design engineer and project leader for high security smartcard controllers at Philips Semiconductors. In 2003, he joined the BCI-Lab at TUG, where he obtained his PhD in 2008 for his work titled “Brain-Computer Communication: The Motivation, Aim, and Impact of Virtual Feedback.” At TUG, he managed the projects Presencia and Presenccia. His work about navigation in virtual environments using BCIs got extensive media coverage in Europe and the US. He also has extensive experience working with numerous devices and applications with different user groups. His research interests are online signal processing, BCIs based on ERDs and other physiological signals, and VR technologies. In April 2009, he joined the BCI group of Millán at EPFL as a postdoctoral researcher.
Robert Leeb, PhD
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
The Human Media Interaction (HMI) research group of the University of Twente, headed by Professor Anton Nijholt, consists of about 15 (including some part time) staff members, a group of 15-20 temporary researchers (post-docs, junior researchers and Ph.D. students) and some administrative, technical and managerial support. The focus of the HMI research is to support multimodal interactions with and within smart environments and to support the use of and the interaction with multimedia information.
Research activities of the HMI group include human-computer interaction, multimedia processing, dialogue modeling, embodied conversational agents (virtual humans), multi-party and multimodal interaction, virtual and augmented reality and brain-computer interfacing. Human Media Interaction is a broad research field dealing with capturing, analysis, fusion, interpretation, transformation and fission of multimodal data. Syntactic, semantic and pragmatic analysis of multimodal input and multimedia data can take place in a static (off-line) or dynamic (on-line) context. In the off-line case the emphasis is on providing intelligent access (retrieval) to stored multimedia, where ‘intelligent’ refers to the possibility to manipulate stored multimedia in order to provide cross-modal multimedia presentations. In the on-line case we have multimodal interaction with reactive and pro-active smart environments and devices.
Much of the research efforts of HMI are undertaken in the context of the ambient intelligence paradigm. This paradigm concerns the combination of ubiquitous computing and the design of social and intelligent interfaces. In ambient intelligent environments the computer disappears into the background and interaction with technology is envisaged to become completely “unmediated” or mediated by virtual conversational agents or robots. Next to interaction in these ambient environments, HMI research considers interaction strategies and techniques in worlds created in virtual reality, where the medium superimposes on the real natural environment.
The main research challenge of the HMI group is to develop interaction technologies and interaction environments that support explicit and implicit, reactive and pro-active methods of interaction. These technologies can be employed in home, office, educational, training, sports, recreational and game environments. The interaction techniques aim at natural and intuitive interaction that allows human participants to use their natural verbal and nonverbal communications skills and that allows the environment to act in an analogous human-like way.
The main research activities are in the following areas:
- machine analysis of human multi-modal and multi-party interaction
- affective embodied dialogue systems (virtual humans) for instruction, training, and entertainment
- brain-computer interfacing for human-computer interaction
- speech and language processing; multimedia retrieval and presentation
- user centred design and evaluation
HMI was and is involved in several FP6 and FP7 EU research projects in the area of multimodal and multi-party interaction (AMIDA, SEMAINE and SERA), in the area of Brain Computer Interfacing (the Coordination and Support Action Future BNCI) and in the area of multimedia information extraction (MESH, and MediaCampaign). HMI was also involved in the FP6 Networks of Excellence HUMAINE – Human-Machine Interaction Network on Emotion and INTUITION – on Virtual Reality and VR Applications. Recently HMI co-initiated the FP7 Network of Excellence SSPNet on social signal processing and the project Puppy-IR on information retrieval for children. HMI participates in the large-scale Dutch projects on games and entertainment (GATE) and on Brain-Computer Interfacing (BrainGain). UT participates in the COST Action 2102: Cross-Modal Analysis of Verbal and Non-verbal Communication.
Anton Nijholt is full professor of Human-Media interaction at the University of Twente. He did his Master thesis (Applied Mathematics) at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and his PhD (Computer Science) at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He held several positions in various countries before becoming full professor at the University of Twente, the Netherlands. His research interests are natural language processing, multimodal interaction, embodied agents, entertainment computing, and brain-computer interfacing. In recent years his main research efforts were in the area of smart environments and nonverbal communication. More than 30 PhD students have been successfully supervised during his professorship. Anton Nijholt has been a member of numerous international program committees and has been (co-) author of more than two hundred conference papers, journal papers, book chapters and several books. He organized numerous workshops in the areas of virtual environments, natural language processing, multimodal interactions, ambient intelligence, and BCIs. Anton Nijholt is a member of several international academic advisory boards, he has been guest-editor of several journals, among others, Artificial Intelligence for Society, and IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, & Cybernetics. He is member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems (IJAACS) and Associate Editor of International Journal of Creative Interfaces and Computer Graphics (IJCICG). He is a scientific adviser to Philips Research in Eindhoven.
Anton Nijholt, PhD
University of Twente
Mannes Poel is a senior researcher at the HMI group. He did his Master and Ph.D. theses in Mathematics. His current research interests mainly focus on Applied Machine Learning in the context of Vision based Human Behaviour Analysis and Brain Computer Interfacing. Dr. Poel is the daily supervisor of 3 Ph.D.’s working on BCI & Games and Vision Based Pose and Action Recognition.
Mannes Poel, PhD
University of Twente
Femke Nijboer is a postdoc in the Human Media Interaction group of the University of Twente in Enschede. The following key words summarize her research topics: Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, societal acceptance of neurotechnology, locked-in syndrome, neuroethics. She currently work in two projects. First, in the future BNCI project she is responsible for the development of a roadmap for future BCI applications for healthy people. Second, in the BrainGain project she is the coordinator of the work package that aims to disseminate results to other scientific groups, industry and society.
Femke Nijboer, PhD
University of Twente
Starlab converts science into technologies with a profound positive impact on society and the planet. Our vision is to make science more useful, alive and vibrant.
We believe that the potential for innovation is greater when we rethink the basics so we focus on scientific research to transform science into disruptive solutions.
Our main areas of work lie in the Space and Neuroscience sectors. We identify social needs and the market opportunities they create. Then we reach to science and engineering to provide technical solutions, products and services for governments, industry and downstream markets.
We are market-aware and market-driving: Space (technology and EO Services) and Neuroscience Research and Development will have great impact in and through several key markets, including environment, energy, health and space.
Starlab is a private company, founded in 2000.
The Starlab FutureBNCI team:
Mr. Stephen Dunne began his studies in the Galway Regional Technical College, where he obtained a National Certificate in Instrument Physics. From there he moved to the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, where he obtained a BSc (Honours) in Planetary and Space Physics. His interest in astrophysics led to a Masters in Optoelectronics and Information Processing from Queens University in Belfast and a research thesis at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. Following a period working in the IT industry for some of the market leaders in both Dublin and Barcelona he took up a position at Starlab in late 2003 working initially on Space applications for the European Space Agency. At Starlab he soon became involved in the development of electro-physiological recording systems and signal processing as applied to the body and brain rather than the earth and space and and has been responsible for Enobio product development. He is currently Neuroscience R&D manager responsible for various ongoing European, national and private research projects as well as continuing development of the ENOBIO platform.
The Future BNCI project also had a strong Advisory Board. We rely on our Advisory Board to help keep us abreast of the latest developments and stakeholders, provide feedback on our roadmap, and help with some of the other material we develop. Here is our Advisory Board, including their affiliations during their involvement with Future BNCI. As of 31 December 2011, the affiliations have not changed for any Board member except Dr. Sullivan, who left Neurosky in October 2011.
Ad Aersten, PhD
Benjamin Blankertz, PhD
Febo Cincotti, PhD
Santa Lucia Foundation
Günter Edlinger, PhD
Gary Garcia, PhD
Leigh Hochberg, MD, PhD
Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf, Doctorandus
Andrea Kübler, PhD
Jose Pons, PhD
Thomas Sullivan, PhD
Jonathan Wolpaw, MD
Wadsworth Research Group