An auditory-tactile based gaze-independent brain computer interface

Brain-computer Interface - Electroencephalography (EEG)


The brain-computer interface (BCI) has proven to be a promising tool for providing persons with severe disabilities the capability to communicate and interact with the people and environment around them. By acquiring and electrical signals from the brain and processing them with a computer, visual BCI systems have been demonstrated in applications ranging from simple binary switches to more complex spellers. Visual BCI systems, are limited in use by persons with adequate vision. To produce a BCI usable by persons with visual impairment the other senses must be utilized. The present study proposes a bimodal BCI system using both auditory ("sound") and tactile ("touch") stimuli. These stimuli will evoke an event-related potential in the brain that can be detected via the electroencephalogram (EEG) cap worn by the subject and thus allow the subject to choose between multiple selections.


Tom Chau, PhD, PEng


Participate in this study

Do you want to control a communication device with your brainwaves? Consider participating in a research study on a gaze-independent brain computer interface to help in the development of a communication technology for visually impaired persons with motor impairment

Who can participate

We are looking to recruit persons who:

  • Are 18 – 40 years of age
  • Have no motor disorder
  • Can read and write in English
  • Have normal (or corrected to normal) hearing
  • Have normal sense of touch around the waist
  • Have none of the following: alcoholism, psychotic depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia

What's Involved

During each session a cap will be placed on your head. Conductive gel will be used at each sensor location. The gel can be washed out of your hair afterwards.

  • We will place four speakers around you and four  vibrating motors around your waist (similar to what you might find in a cell phone) and ask you to focus on one direction
  • The computer will randomly stimulate each speaker and/or motor
  • The computer will attempt to determine which direction you were focusing on and present this feedback to you
  • Each session is about 2 hours long
  • You will attend 3 sessions, over 1 week
  • All sessions will be at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital at times convenient to you


Recruitment will end March 31, 2015 or when enough participants have been enrolled

Interested in participating

If you are interested in participating in this study or have additional questions, please contact Tim Zeyl at or (416) 425 – 6220  ex. 3270 with your interest, and we will promptly get back to you. Contacting us does not obligate you to participate in the study.

Learn more about this study