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DECODER is a European collaborative project that will deploy Brain-Computer-Interfaces (BCI) for the detection of consciousness in non-responsive patients. The DECODER team develops an assessment battery that sup­ports an exact diagnosis of the state of consciousness by a variety of auditory, visual, tactile and mental stimulation paradigms. The project started in February 2010.
 

 

About DECODER

Call: FP7-ICT-2009-4
Project no.: 247919
Budget: 2,799,921.00 €
Duration: February 2010 - February 2013
Coordination: University of Würzburg, Germany
Partners: Fondazione Santa Lucia, Italy; Technische Universität Graz, Austria; Medical Research Council, UK; Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands; Université de Liège, Belgium; Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany; Association du Locked-In Syndrom (ALIS), France; Guger Technologies OG, Austria.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Andrea Kübler (Coordinator)
DECODER will develop BCIs into single-switch based systems to practically enhance inclusion of patients who are otherwise only little or not at all able to interact with their environment and share Interface Computer Technologies (ICT).

Through the deployment of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) for non-responsive patients DECODER will provide access to modern information and communication technology such as internet, personal computer or home appliances when only a single response of a person is available.

In this extreme case, no current assistive technology can help the patient interact with the environment. This situation poses serious ethical issues, since medical treatment can prolong the patients’ life, but leave them in a state of unacceptable quality of life.

This achievement will move on from the improvement of three components of state-of-the-art BCIs:

and adapt them to the specificities of non-responsive patients such as low arousal, short attention span, and altered electrical activity of the brain.

A fourth component of the project is the application. Therefore, existing assistive technology will be adapted to a single-switch control. Besides classic EEG paradigms, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) will be used for signal acquisition due to its higher spatial resolution. Potential and automated software will identify the best signal for each user and will optimize signal translation.

Prior to providing such patients with ICT, an unequivocal diagnosis is of utmost importance to define the most appropriate rehabilitation strategy and most suitable supportive technology for interaction.

A hierarchical diagnostic approach starting with simple presentation of stimuli to intentional control of BCI will be developed, validated  and disseminated.

DECODER aims to develop:

Therefore, evaluation, individual adaptation and at least dissemination are essential issues of DECODER as it should be used by a large mass of people.
 


Possible inaccuracies of information are under the responsability of the project team. The text reflects solely the authors´ views. The European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
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