NeuRow: Online Rowing VR for Motor-Imagery Training

Motor-imagery, or motor-imagination (MI), is a mental rehearsal of a movement and is a unique property of the brain as a mental ability strongly related to the body, or ‘embodied’ cognition [1]. Motor-imagery, appears to share the same control mechanisms and neural substrates with actual movement (both in action execution and action observation), providing a unique opportunity to study neural control of movement in either healthy people or patients [2], [3].

The benefits of motor-imagery are also utilized as a technique in neuro-rehabilitation for people with neurological impairments [4]. More recently, motor-imagery offers an essential basis for the development of Brain–Computer Interfaces (BCIs) for physically disabled persons and stroke survivors [5]. BCIs are communication systems capable of establishing an alternative pathway between user’s brain activity and a computer system [6].

More recently, Virtual Reality (VR) feedback has been used in motor-imagery BCI training, offering a more compelling experience to the user through 3D environments [7]. The fusion of BCI and VR (BCI-VR) allows a wide range of experiences where participants can control various aspects of their environment -either in an explicit or implicit manner-, by using mental imagery alone [8]. This direct brain-to-VR communication can produce induced illusions mostly relying on the sensorimotor contingencies between perception and action [9].

For this, and based on previous findings [10], we have developed a novel prototype that makes use of multimodal feedback, in an immersive VR environment delivered through a state-of-the-art Head Mounted Display (HMD), integrated in a MI-BCI motor training task (left | right hand imagery in a multiplatform setup, NeuRow. NeuRow is Immersive VR Environment for Motor-Imagery training with the use of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs). NeuRow is a rowing game with main target to hit as many flags as possible in a fixed time. Moreover, NeuRow is available for PC, Android OS and also with web browser support through the use of Reh@Panel, a midleware between interfaces and VR.

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Go To Official NeuRow Website

Developed by: Athanasios Vourvopoulos

References:

[1] T. Hanakawa, “Organizing motor imageries,” Neurosci. Res.
[2] C. Neuper, R. Scherer, S. Wriessnegger, and G. Pfurtscheller, “Motor imagery and action observation: Modulation of sensorimotor brain rhythms during mental control of a brain–computer interface,” Clin. Neurophysiol., vol. 120, no. 2, pp. 239–247, Feb. 2009.
[3] T. Mulder, “Motor imagery and action observation: cognitive tools for rehabilitation,” J. Neural Transm., vol. 114, no. 10, pp. 1265–1278, Oct. 2007.
[4] R. Dickstein and J. E. Deutsch, “Motor Imagery in Physical Therapist Practice,” Phys. Ther., vol. 87, no. 7, pp. 942–953, Jul. 2007.
[5] B. H. Dobkin, “Brain-computer interface technology as a tool to augment plasticity and outcomes for neurological rehabilitation,” J. Physiol., vol. 579, no. Pt 3, pp. 637–642, Mar. 2007.
[6] J. R. Wolpaw, N. Birbaumer, D. J. McFarland, G. Pfurtscheller, and T. M. Vaughan, “Brain-computer interfaces for communication and control,” Clin. Neurophysiol. Off. J. Int. Fed. Clin. Neurophysiol., vol. 113, no. 6, pp. 767–791, Jun. 2002.
[7] F. Lotte, J. Faller, C. Guger, Y. Renard, G. Pfurtscheller, A. Lécuyer, and R. Leeb, “Combining BCI with Virtual Reality: Towards New Applications and Improved BCI,” 2013.
[8] D. Friedman, “Brain-Computer Interfacing and Virtual Reality,” in Handbook of Digital Games and Entertainment Technologies, R. Nakatsu, M. Rauterberg, and P. Ciancarini, Eds. Springer Singapore, 2015, pp. 1–22.
[9] M. Slater, “Place illusion and plausibility can lead to realistic behaviour in immersive virtual environments,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci., vol. 364, no. 1535, pp. 3549–3557, Dec. 2009.
[10] A. Vourvopoulos, J. E. M. Cardona, and S. B. i Badia, “Optimizing Motor Imagery Neurofeedback through the Use of Multimodal Immersive Virtual Reality and Motor Priming,” presented at the 2015 International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation (ICVR), 2015.

References:

[1] T. Hanakawa, “Organizing motor imageries,” Neurosci. Res.
[2] C. Neuper, R. Scherer, S. Wriessnegger, and G. Pfurtscheller, “Motor imagery and action observation: Modulation of sensorimotor brain rhythms during mental control of a brain–computer interface,” Clin. Neurophysiol., vol. 120, no. 2, pp. 239–247, Feb. 2009.
[3] T. Mulder, “Motor imagery and action observation: cognitive tools for rehabilitation,” J. Neural Transm., vol. 114, no. 10, pp. 1265–1278, Oct. 2007.
[4] R. Dickstein and J. E. Deutsch, “Motor Imagery in Physical Therapist Practice,” Phys. Ther., vol. 87, no. 7, pp. 942–953, Jul. 2007.
[5] B. H. Dobkin, “Brain-computer interface technology as a tool to augment plasticity and outcomes for neurological rehabilitation,” J. Physiol., vol. 579, no. Pt 3, pp. 637–642, Mar. 2007.
[6] J. R. Wolpaw, N. Birbaumer, D. J. McFarland, G. Pfurtscheller, and T. M. Vaughan, “Brain-computer interfaces for communication and control,” Clin. Neurophysiol. Off. J. Int. Fed. Clin. Neurophysiol., vol. 113, no. 6, pp. 767–791, Jun. 2002.
[7] F. Lotte, J. Faller, C. Guger, Y. Renard, G. Pfurtscheller, A. Lécuyer, and R. Leeb, “Combining BCI with Virtual Reality: Towards New Applications and Improved BCI,” 2013.
[8] D. Friedman, “Brain-Computer Interfacing and Virtual Reality,” in Handbook of Digital Games and Entertainment Technologies, R. Nakatsu, M. Rauterberg, and P. Ciancarini, Eds. Springer Singapore, 2015, pp. 1–22.
[9] M. Slater, “Place illusion and plausibility can lead to realistic behaviour in immersive virtual environments,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci., vol. 364, no. 1535, pp. 3549–3557, Dec. 2009.
[10] A. Vourvopoulos, J. E. M. Cardona, and S. B. i Badia, “Optimizing Motor Imagery Neurofeedback through the Use of Multimodal Immersive Virtual Reality and Motor Priming,” presented at the 2015 International Conference on Virtual Rehabilitation (ICVR), 2015.