Community /

BCI4ALS First Cycle Graduation!

The BCI4ALS Project
BCI4ALS is a multi-institute academic course that teaches students the theory and practice of developing a working Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) system personalized to specific ALS (a degenerative neuro-muscular disease) patients in order to maintain their communication capabilities. The entire course is based on OpenBCI hardware.

All the people shown in all of the photos in the post have consented to this publication. Credits to the students and family members who took the pictures during the team’s visits to the ALS mentors.

We are proud to announce the completion of the projects’ first cycle, and celebrate the successful graduation of 31 of our students.

Who is involved in the BCI4ALS project?
The BCI4ALS project has many amazing partners in this endeavour, such as the BrainstormIL community, openBCI, IsrALS Foundation and more. It is led by Dr. Oren Shriki (Head of the Cognitive & Brain Science Department, BGU), Lahav Foox, Or Rabani, and Asaf Harel

The Students and Faculty
This year, the course was held in three different universities – Ben Gurion University of the Negev, University of Haifa, and the Technion Institute. We are pleased to announce that the next cycle will include students and faculty from Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University as well. The teams from each university consist of students specializing in signal processing, machine learning, electrical engineering, neuroscientists and social work / clinical psychology that work along with carefully chosen ALS patients (IsrALS foundation). Each participating institute adds the knowledge and experience from dedicated leading principal investigators and teaching assistants that guide, teach, and research through and with the mentors and student teams.

This year’s Achievements
This year, three universities participated with a total of nine teams (31 students) and seven ALS mentors. We used eight specially-adapted openBCI Ultracortex headsets, created unique code and classifiers for two different BCI paradigms (SSVEP and MI), adapted and personalized each solution to the mentor’s individual needs, created communication aides, alert systems and one electric toy car (POC for wheelchair). On average, our student teams reached classification accuracy of 2X above chance level.

Next Cycle
All of our mentors will continue onto the next cycle of the project. In the upcoming cycle, we plan to reach twice as many mentors and grow accordingly.

Why is this important?
One of our core values is “Make an ethical and social impact”. This project teaches students to utilize their knowledge toward helping a clinical population that frequently chooses whether to extend their life or not based on whether they will continue to have any communication capability. This is of utmost importance.

Want to learn more about this project?
We are constantly looking for collaboration partners and supporting organisations that wish to contribute to this project. Please contact us at: [email protected] or through our website.

Leave a Reply