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BCI Communication System for Children with Disabilities


Communication can be challenging for children without expressive speech and functional movements. We are currently developing a brain-computer interface (BCI) communication system for children with disabilities. We hope to find out if children with special communication needs can learn to use this technology to communicate basic messages.

Call to action

Participate in a research study to evaluate a communication system that can be controlled with your mind!

Who can participate

We are looking for participants who:

  • Are between 5 to 19 years old,
  • Are nonverbal or have unclear or limited speech,
  • Have difficulty physically pointing to pictures or pressing buttons with your fingers, hands, and/or feet,
  • Can hold a steady gaze on a screen for 30 seconds to make a selection,
  • Have a basic understanding of using AAC to communicate simple messages,
  • Are able to reliably indicate yes / no.


You may not be eligible for this study if you:

  • Have a history of photosensitive seizures,
  • Are current prescribed with sedative medication,
  • Have a medical implant that is contraindicated with EEG,
  • Are allergic to hypoallergenic electrode gel.

Funding agency


What's involved

At the beginning of the study, you will be asked to complete a survey over a phone call / Zoom meeting. This survey includes questions about basic information about yourself, your past medical diagnoses, as well as your experience with AAC and BCI. You will then be asked to come to Holland Bloorview for up to five 90-minute sessions. During these sessions, we will record your brain activity with an electroencephalography (EEG) headset. This headset has sensors that gently touch your head. You will train a BCI by looking at flashing buttons on a screen. A camera will be used to measure your eye position. You will then use the BCI system to control communication applications on a computer. At the end of each session, we will ask you to fill out a usability survey.

The device used to measure your brain activity is safe and painless. However, participating in this study may cause discomfort, tiredness, and/or frustration. You will receive a $30 gift card and volunteer hours at the end of each session as a token of our appreciation for your participation.


Interested in participating

If you are interested in participating in this study or have additional questions, please contact Jason Leung at (416) 425-6220 x6236 or with your interest, and he will get back to your shortly. Contacting us does not obligate you or your child to participate in the study.

Download recruitment flyer
Learn more about this study