Optimal Implementation and Design of a Portable and Economical EEG Communication Device
For paralyzed persons who still retain high-level mental function, patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as locked-in syndrome or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or patients recovering from a stroke or just out of surgery, communication becomes an extremely challenging endeavor. Many patients with these conditions experience both verbal and physical deficits, limiting their speech as well as motor function. Research in the area of Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) is expanding and can offer ways to improve the current communication problems in this area of health care, with the potential to expand to other areas. The current market for electroencephalogram (EEG) devices include very low-end, gaming-type devices and also medical-grade, professional EEG headsets that range around $20,000 and above for the most basic products. The goal of this project is to design an EEG communication device that can provide reliable signals over a smaller frequency band that targets a more specific application base. These patients are in need of an affordable, simple, and easy-to-learn system to help restore lost function, whether as an in-home system or as a hospital bedside communication device. Above all it needs to be a user-independent design with a small learning curve. Ideally, the end device would consist of a patient simply looking at the icon that is desired, and a brain signal of the corresponding frequency would be evoked. Using this method, a system for communication can be created in which a patient can simply look at what he or she needs - such as food, pain relief, etc. - and be understood.