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Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik

Joint Journal of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering in VDE and the Austrian and Swiss Societies for Biomedical Engineering and the German Society of Biomaterials

Editor-in-Chief: Dössel, Olaf

Editorial Board: Augat, Peter / Habibović, Pamela / Haueisen, Jens / Jahnen-Dechent, Wilhelm / Jockenhoevel, Stefan / Knaup-Gregori, Petra / Lenarz, Thomas / Leonhardt, Steffen / Plank, Gernot / Radermacher, Klaus M. / Schkommodau, Erik / Stieglitz, Thomas / Boenick, Ulrich / Jaramaz, Branislav / Kraft, Marc / Lenthe, Harry / Lo, Benny / Mainardi, Luca / Micera, Silvestro / Penzel, Thomas / Robitzki, Andrea A. / Schaeffter, Tobias / Snedeker, Jess G. / Sörnmo, Leif / Sugano, Nobuhiko / Werner, Jürgen /

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Volume 60, Issue 3


Volume 57 (2012)

An EEG/EOG-based hybrid brain-neural computer interaction (BNCI) system to control an exoskeleton for the paralyzed hand

Surjo R. Soekadar
  • Corresponding author
  • Applied Neurotechnology Lab, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Tübingen, Calwerstr. 14, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Matthias Witkowski
  • Applied Neurotechnology Lab, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Tübingen, Calwerstr. 14, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  • Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Silcherstr. 5, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Nicola Vitiello
  • The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, 56025 Pontedera (Pisa), Italy; and Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Center of Florence, via di Scandicci 256, 50143 Firenze, Italy
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Niels Birbaumer
  • Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Silcherstr. 5, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  • Ospedale San Camillo – IRCCS, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Venezia-Lido, Italy
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-12-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bmt-2014-0126


The loss of hand function can result in severe physical and psychosocial impairment. Thus, compensation of a lost hand function using assistive robotics that can be operated in daily life is very desirable. However, versatile, intuitive, and reliable control of assistive robotics is still an unsolved challenge. Here, we introduce a novel brain/neural-computer interaction (BNCI) system that integrates electroencephalography (EEG) and electrooculography (EOG) to improve control of assistive robotics in daily life environments. To evaluate the applicability and performance of this hybrid approach, five healthy volunteers (HV) (four men, average age 26.5±3.8 years) and a 34-year-old patient with complete finger paralysis due to a brachial plexus injury (BPI) used EEG (condition 1) and EEG/EOG (condition 2) to control grasping motions of a hand exoskeleton. All participants were able to control the BNCI system (BNCI control performance HV: 70.24±16.71%, BPI: 65.93±24.27%), but inclusion of EOG significantly improved performance across all participants (HV: 80.65±11.28, BPI: 76.03±18.32%). This suggests that hybrid BNCI systems can achieve substantially better control over assistive devices, e.g., a hand exoskeleton, than systems using brain signals alone and thus may increase applicability of brain-controlled assistive devices in daily life environments.

Keywords: assistive brain-machine interface (BMI); biosignal fusion; brachial plexus injury (BPI); electrooculography (EOG); sensori-motor rhythms (SMR)


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About the article

Corresponding author: Surjo R. Soekadar, MD, Applied Neurotechnology Lab, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Tübingen, Calwerstr. 14, 72076 Tübingen, Germany, Phone: +49-7071-29 82624, Fax: +49-7071-29 82625, E-mail:

Received: 2014-03-01

Accepted: 2014-11-17

Published Online: 2014-12-09

Published in Print: 2015-06-01

Citation Information: Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik, Volume 60, Issue 3, Pages 199–205, ISSN (Online) 1862-278X, ISSN (Print) 0013-5585, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bmt-2014-0126.

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