Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (4), 271-278
ABSTRACTS FROM THE “BEYOND BRAIN MACHINE INTERFACE: MOTOR, COGNITIVE, AND VIRTUAL” PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (4), 279-288
HUMAN-MACHINE VISUAL DIGEST
Y. Cai, G. Milcent & R. Franco
Human vision is an information digest process in which attention, understanding and abstraction are three key elements. In this paper, we present an architecture of the human-machine visual digest system at two visual abstraction levels–gaze and object. By combining human vision and machine vision, we aim to minimize the media footprint during visual communication while sustaining essential semantic data. The system is designed to detect the operator’s gaze and adjust the video resolution at the sensor side across the network. Our results show significant improvements in network bandwidth utilization. The machine vision system is also designed for mobile video network applications, where faces are detected. The multi-resolution profiles are configured for media according to the network footprint. The video is sent across the network with multiple resolutions and metadata, controlled by the bandwidth regulator. The results show that the video is able to be transmitted in the low-bandwidth conditions. By combining attention detection and pattern recognition, human and machines can interact at understanding and abstraction level.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (4), 289-298
BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACE RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: EEG- AND ECOG-BASED PARADIGMS
R. Scherer, F. Darvas, J. Ojemann, Y. Matsuoka & R. Raoa
The development of practical brain-computer interfaces (BCI) is proceeding rapidly and devices can now often provide control to select targets or to trigger pre-defined motion sequences. To move toward the eventual goals of restoring lost sensorimotor function, information transfer rates will need to increase. Information transfer can be improved at the signal and application end, and we provide several examples where our laboratory has addressed both issues. In particular, we have implemented P300 control of an autonomous humanoid robot and EEG-based motor imagery control of the Google Earth software. An anatomically correct test bed for a human hand model provides another example where applications are specifically designed to maximize the utility of a readily available control signal. In parallel, we seek signals that can provide improved information and fidelity of signal, including signals obtained from direct recording of the human cortical surface. The high-frequency signals seen at this level show promise for practical BCI applications, such as the use of contralateral and ipsilateral movement signals from the motor cortex, and, once identified by invasive means, may actually be detectable in non-invasive EEG recordings. These combined strategies may improve BCI development.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (4), 299-314
A NEUROVR-BASED VERSION OF THE MULTIPLE ERRANDS TEST FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS: A POSSIBLE APPROACH
S. Raspelli, L. Carelli, F. Morganti, G. Albani, R. Pignatti, A. Mauro, B. Poletti, B. Corra, V. Silani & G. Riva
This paper presents a study aimed at developing a tool for the assessment of executive functions in patients with different etiologies by customizing a virtual reality (VR) version of the Multiple Errands Test (MET) (Shallice & Burgess, 1991; Fortin et al., 2003). The MET is an assessment of executive functions in daily life which consists of tasks that abide by certain rules. It is performed in an actual shopping mall-like setting where there are items to be bought and information to be obtained. The specific goal of this study was to conduct a pilot study using the virtual version of MET (VMET) with both control subjects and patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and from stroke. The task was supported by the employment of an advanced technology able to ensure an ecologically valid context for the patient. Specifically, the MET procedure, previously modified according to the requirements of the NeuroVR software system, was presented via a virtual supermarket. Subjects were requested to select and buy various products presented on shelves with the aid of a joy-pad. The procedures developed and employed during this pilot phase, results obtained for the two clinical samples and the implications for the assessment of executive functions are addressed in this paper.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (4), 315-328
BIOFEEDBACK, VR AND MOBILE PHONES IN THE TREATMENT OF GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER (GAD): A PHASE-2 CONTROLLED CLINICAL TRIAL
F. Pallavicini, D. Algeri, C. Repetto, A. Gorini & G. Riva
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a psychiatric disease characterized by long-lasting anxiety that is not focused on a specific object or situation. Within the treatment of GAD, physical (relaxation and controlled breathing), behavioral (visualization and controlled exposure) and cognitive control strategies (challenging negative thoughts) represent a key part of the treatment, even if they difficult to learn. To overcome this limitation, the EU-funded INTREPID research project (IST-2002-507464) proposes improvement of exiting treatment for GAD through the use of a biofeedback-enhanced virtual reality (VR) system, used both for relaxation and controlled exposure. Furthermore, this experience is strengthened by the use of a mobile phone that allows patients to perform the virtual experience even in an outpatient setting. This approach was tested in a Phase II randomized controlled trial (NCT00602212), including three groups of four patients each, resulting in a total of 12 patients. The first group consisted of the VR and Mobile group (VRMB) including biofeedback, the second of the VR and Mobile group (VRM) without biofeedback, and the third the waiting list (WL) group. This study provides initial evidence for better efficacy of treatment for the VRMB group. Subjects belonging to this group reported a higher decrease in some of the anxiety psychometric questionnaires after the treatment than both VRM and WL groups, even if the VRM group, too, reported some significant improvements at the end of therapy. Moreover, qualitative reports concerning outpatient use of mobile phones suggests that it can solve a classical problem of VR therapies–the impossibility of using a VR system in the real life context of the patient.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (4), 329-336
RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF THE NINTENDO WII FIT
L. Gras, A. Hummer & E. Hine
The Nintendo® Wii™ is gaining popularity with clinicians to use with their patients to simulate real world games and sports. Patients enjoy the interaction with the game while the therapist’s focus is on improving the patient’s function. The Wii Fit™ is being promoted to improve balance. The program begins with assessment tools to give the user an idea of how well they are balancing. This study investigated the reliability and concurrent validity of the Nintendo® Wii Fit™ compared to a known standard in measuring balance, the NeuroCom EquiTest®. The results of this study found that the Wii Fit™ is not reliable or valid in balance assessment as compared to the EquiTest®.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (4), 337-350
TRAPPED IN THE WEB: THE PSYCHOPATHOLOGY OF CYBERSPACE
T. Cantelmi & M. Talli
In this review the authors, after an initial description of the “Internet phenomenon,” particularly of the psychological and psychopathological risks related to its use, propose to the reader a series of works on this theme developed during recent years. In this review many interesting aspects are discussed such as the problem of defining the syndrome and the possible diagnostic criteria, the explanatory models proposed by various authors and possible therapy options to treat the syndrome.