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Foundations of Patient-Oriented AAC Access for Children: Evaluating Picture-Based P300-Brain-Computer Interface Control and Design Preferences


Research Team

Name

Principal Investigator: Kevin Pitt

Co-Principal Investigators: Matthew Lambert

Funding Information

Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Award Date: Dec 1, 2023

End Date: Nov 30, 2026

Abstract

Imagine being locked inside your own body, isolated and unable to meaningfully connect with those around you. For children with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI), the lack of a reliable communication methods has devastating impact on their quality of life, well-being, and medical care. 

Approximately 97 million individuals worldwide have disabilities significant enough to require the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) techniques for communication support. By harnessing an individual's brain activity, brain-computer interfaces for AAC (BCI-AAC) can support access to communication for those with SSPI who may find existing methods of AAC access ineffective or inefficient. P300-based BCI-AAC devices will justifiably be the first BCI-AAC method to enter clinical practice.

However, while adult-based BCI-AAC research has laid a crucial foundation, existing P300-BCI-AAC research has primarily focused on new signal processing algorithms rather than advancing existing signals toward implementation, limiting meaningful advancements. 

This project is designed to help overcome existing exclusions by informing picture-based P300-BCI-AAC development for children; and clinical translation, by determining initial levels of P300-BCI-AAC performance for both healthy children and those with SSPI, alongside establishing factors impacting success and children's BCI-AAC design preferences. 

Findings will be used to help improve communication abilities of children with SSPI via BCI-AAC, helping decrease the impact of disability and risk of preventable adverse medical events, while promoting quality of life and social participation.


Research & Evaluation Methods, Psychosocial Development & Social-Emotional Learning

Kevin Pitt, assistant professor of special education and communication disorders, is leading a three-year project that uses brain-computer interface (BCI) technology to facilitate better communication for people with severe speech and physical impairments.