Brain-Computer Interaction (BCI) corresponds to the use of brain signals to send “mental commands” to an automated system such as a robot or a simulation. In the previous OpenViBE1 project (2005-2009), we have developed an open-source software called OpenViBE to easily design, test and use BCI. In addition, we have opened new research areas in the field of BCI, EEG signal-processing and in Virtual Reality (VR) technologies supporting BCI applications. BCI is a rapidly growing area of research and several impressive prototypes are already available. However, nowadays, BCI control capabilities are still not comparable to other Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) peripherals such as joysticks or the classical computer mouse. Thus, BCI technologies remain focused on disabled people, who do not have access to the other traditional interfaces.
The objective of OpenViBE2 is to propose a radical shift of perspective about the use of BCI. First, in OpenViBE2 we consider the possibility to merge a BCI with traditional peripherals such as joysticks, mice and other devices, all being possibly used simultaneously in a virtual environment. Therefore, BCI is not seen as a replacement but as a complement of classical HCI. Second, we aim at monitoring brain cognitive functions and mental states of the user in order to adapt, in real-time and in an automated fashion, the interaction protocol itself as well as the content of the remote/virtual environment (VE).
Our project focuses on videogames and “serious games”, which are relatively new fields of application for BCI and span a potentially massive market. The goal of OpenViBE2 is thus: “exploiting EEG information to measure, identify and use the mental states and brain responses of the user to adapt both the way the user can interact with the videogame and the content of the game”.
The OpenViBE2 project raises several technical challenges and scientific questions that can be unfolded along three main research axes: (1) at a neurophysiological/electrophysiological level, the experimental validation of EEG markers usable in a videogame context, (2) at a technological level concerning the on-line processing of EEG data, the design of efficient and adapted signal-processing techniques, and (3) at a technological level concerning the human-computer interaction, the design of novel and efficient adaptive techniques for virtual environments based on on-line brain features extraction.
The successful achievement of this research is expected to produce novel knowledge, methods, tools and techniques for the adaptation of content and interaction with videogames and virtual environments using user’s mental states and brain responses. Throughout the project, we offer to deliver an open-source platform that will integrate our advances in the field of real-time EEG signal-processing.