Reality-based brain-computer interaction

Abstract: Recent developments within human-computer interaction (HCI) and cognitive neuroscience have come together to motivate and enable a framework for HCI with a solid basis in brain function and human reality. Human cognition is increasingly considered to be critically related to the development of human capabilities in the everyday environment (reality). At the same time, increasingly powerful computers continuously make the development of complex applications with realistic interaction easier. Advances in cognitive neuroscience and brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) make it possible to use an understanding of how the brain works in realistic environments to interpret brain measurements and adapt interaction in computer-generated virtual environments (VEs). Adaptive and realistic computer applications have great potential for training, rehabilitation and diagnosis. Realistic interaction environments are important to facilitate transfer to everyday reality and to gain ecological validity. The ability to adapt the interaction is very valuable as any training or learning must be done at the right level in order to optimize the development of skills. The use of brain measurements as input to computer applications makes it possible to get direct information about how the brain reacts to aspects of a VE. This provides a basis for the development of realistic and adaptive computer applications that target cognitive skills and abilities. Theories of cognition and brain function provide a basis for how such cognitive skills develop, through internalization of interaction with the current environment. By considering how internalization leads to the neural implementation and continuous adaptation of mental simulations in the brain it is possible to relate designed phenomena in a VE to brain measurements. The work presented in this thesis contributes to a foundation for the development of reality-based brain-computer interaction (RBBCI) applications by combining VR with emerging BCI methods based on an understanding of the human brain in human reality. RBBCI applications can be designed and developed to interact directly with the brain by interpreting brain measurements as responses to deliberate manipulations of a computer-generated reality. As the application adapts to these responses an interaction loop is created that excludes the conscious user. The computer interacts with the brain, through (the virtual) reality.