Toward Self-Paced Brain-Computer Communication: Navigation through Virtual Worlds

Reinhold Scherer, Felix Yuan-Tseng Lee, Alois Schlögl, Robert Leeb, Horst Bischof, Gert Pfurtscheller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The self-paced control paradigm enables users to operate brain-computer interfaces (BCI) in a more natural way: no longer is the machine in control of the timing and speed of communication, but rather the user is. This is important to enhance the usability, flexibility, and response time of a BCI. In this work, we show how subjects, after performing cue-based feedback training (smiley paradigm), learned to navigate self-paced through the ¿freeSpace¿ virtual environment (VE). Similar to computer games, subjects had the task of picking up items by using the following navigation commands: rotate left, rotate right, and move forward ( three classes). Since the self-paced control paradigm allows subjects to make voluntary decisions on time, type, and duration of mental activity, no cues or routing directives were presented. The BCI was based only on three bipolar electroencephalogram channels and operated by motor imagery. Eye movements (electrooculogram) and electromyographic artifacts were reduced and detected online. The results of three able-bodied subjects are reported and problems emerging from self-paced control are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-682
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)


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