Success at the CYBATHLON BCI Series Race

by Sheridon Sauer
Online Marketing Specialist (Brain Products)

Brain Products was proud to sponsor the Mirage91 team from Graz University of Technology at the CYBATHLON BCI Series, which took place on September 17th just before the 8th Graz Brain-Computer Interface Conference. Equipped with a LiveAmp and actiCAP slim system, our team, Mirage91 with pilot Pascal Prietl, won their qualification round and took second place in the final race!

Success at the CYBATHLON BCI Series Race

The CYBATHLON BCI Series offers technology providers and researchers an exciting way to present their state-of-the-art technology and methods for controlling assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, for people with disabilities. In the race, pilots with quadriplegia (or other severe loss of motor function) use brain-​computer interfaces to control a vehicle avatar as it navigates through the “BrainDriver” computer game. The first pilot to cross the finish line of the virtual course wins the race.

The challenge of this BCI race is that the pilot’s intended commands must be transmitted correctly to control the avatar. The avatar moves correctly and quickly if the computer receives the correct brain signal at a specific moment. If the computer receives the wrong brain signal at the wrong moment or no command when input is required, the avatar slows down. There are also parts of the game where no input should be sent, and accidental commands slow down the avatar.

Most teams use electroencephalography (EEG) to detect the brain signals, but other methods, such as near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), are also allowed. BCIs that rely on eye movements or any other muscular activity are not allowed. The teams can choose the type of mental task they want to use for sending commands, for example, motor imagery, mental rotation, mental arithmetic, or imagining singing. The BCI race therefore tests the reliability and precision of the technology in a virtual game. The competitive environment and performing in front of an audience add an extra element of real-world interaction that shows how BCIs can be used outside of the lab.

Brain Products is proud to support this team and the CYBATHLON competitions in general. We congratulate all the teams on their efforts and great results.

The BCI Series follows the same rules as and is perfect preparation for the upcoming global event, CYBATHLON 2020, taking place in Zurich on May 2-3, 2020. We look forward to sponsoring two teams there: Mirage91 and SEC FHT, from the Future Health Technologies research program at the Singapore-​ETH Centre.

Follow the Brain Products channel on twitter to see the teams’ progress and join us in cheering them on!