ABC aims at increasing human capabilities by means of Brain/Neural Computer Interfaces (BNCI). The project has developed applications addressed primarily to persons with Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy (DCP). Due to DCP particular conditions, BNCI-based systems present a huge potential for the improvement of the quality of life and the promotion of the independent living of this target group. In particular, project outcomes specifically focused on the augmentation of capabilities related to communication, learning, social participation and control of devices. ABC system is composed by four independent modules based on the latest advancements on BNCI signal processing, Affective Computing, Augmented Communication and Biosignal Monitoring. The reference European research institutions in each field led the R&D work.
DCP end-users and care professionals have been involved in R&D tasks from design to validation. To involve effectively persons with DCP into the design process, new user-centred design methods were developed. The project has delivered a functional prototype of ABC system, validated and working in out-of-lab contexts. The modular structure of ABC system and the independence of its components extends its exploitation potential beyond the initial DCP niche. Different combinations of the modules could be integrated into other assistive product niches such as people with multiple sclerosis or quadriplegia. Moreover, ABC modules (both combined or stand-alone) have the potential to become part of mainstream applications benefitting from the augmentation of human capabilities such as gaming, e-learning, work safety or driving assistance among others.
The following objectives have been achieved:
Obj1.- A set of methodologies to involve DCP users along the chain of product design and development (“R1: DCP user centred methodologies”). These methodologies enable extracting user preferences and opinions independently of the level of motor control, writing and speaking. .
Obj2.- Adaptation of current BNCI algorithms to specific characteristics of DCP users. Common algorithms of processing feature extraction and classification have been modified according to pathological patterns given by disorders of the Central Nervous System, such as spastic or reflex movements.
Obj3.- Effects of noisy signals and artifacts that contaminate EEG signals have been reduced to optimize the Signal to Noise Ratio.
Obj4.- Detection of the emotional state of DCP users, to express this state and to help to manage their emotions (“R3: Affective Computing Module”). The system is portable and detects the emotional state through DCP physiological response, distinguishing five states: from high negative emotion to high positive emotion. .
Obj5.- Health management (“R4: Health monitoring Module”). ABC project provides a portable tool able a) to detect health problems of DCP users and send emergency alerts, and b) to help DCP users to control their health condition.