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An In-home Study of Brain Computer Interfaces

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Jane Huggins, PhD, University of Michigan Identifier:
First received: May 4, 2010
Last updated: March 14, 2017
Last verified: March 2017

The investigators are developing a tool to help people who are severely paralyzed. This tool is called a brain-computer interface (BCI). BCIs can connect to computers or other electronic devices.

This study allows a person with ALS to communicate, control their wheelchair tilt and perform other tasks using a BCI, thus increasing their independence.

Condition Intervention
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Device: Brain Computer Interface for Wheelchair Tilt Control

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: An In-home Study of Brain Computer Interfaces

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Jane Huggins, PhD, University of Michigan:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Duration of BCI Usage by Persons With ALS. [ Time Frame: Monthly measurements for a period of up to 18 months. ]
    Number of months of BCI usage by each participant.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Changes in Accuracy of BCI for Controlling Devices and Text [ Time Frame: 6 months, 12 months, 18 months ]
    Changes in Accuracy Percentage (i.e., cumulative correct selections per month divided by the cumulative number of intended sections per month). Looking for trends over each 6 month period.

Enrollment: 1
Study Start Date: January 2010
Study Completion Date: May 2011
Primary Completion Date: May 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Brain Computer Interface In-Home Use Device: Brain Computer Interface for Wheelchair Tilt Control
Patients will be given the BCI for use in-home, as long as they use the BCI at least 10 hours per week and complete monthly performance assessment sessions.

Detailed Description:

This small-scale study of the feasibility of a BCI to operate the tilt position of a power wheelchair was also designed to determine the conditions and support structures necessary for use of a BCI in the home. In this study, people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) will have a BCI in their home. They will receive training in order to operate and maintain the BCI. The BCI will allow them to access at least one task of primary interest to them. Task may include communication, computer access, control of assistive technology, or control of wheelchair seat position. Data concerning the use of the BCI will be collected throughout the study. Custom installations will be made for each participant to connect to their wheelchair and provide communication options if needed. Each installation is expected to be a unique prototype because of the differing control requirements for the individual wheelchairs in use by the participants.

We intended to enroll six participants, but were only able to enroll one.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 18 or older.
  • Presently having difficulty communicating or operating the controls for assistive technology or likely to have difficulty in the next six months.
  • Able to see the BCI display
  • Able to understand and remember instructions concerning participation.
  • Live in an environment that can accommodate the wheelchair portable BCI host computer
  • Expected to live in the same physical environment for at least 6 months.
  • Has family and caregiver(s) who are supportive of participation in this research.
  • Has a primary caregiver who is technically capable, willing to learn the setup and operation of the BCI system, and likely to remain with the subject for at least 6 months.
  • Has been shown to be able to use a BCI (in an experimental session under another IRB, e.g. HUM 00012968).
  • Has a clear understanding of the shortcomings of the present state of BCI technology

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Open head lesions or a history of problems with skin breakdown on the head that may be aggravated by repeated application of electrodes.
  • Inability to communicate well enough to give informed consent.
  • History of photo-sensitive epilepsy
  • Known significant cognitive deficits
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01123200

United States, Michigan
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States, 48109
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Michigan
Principal Investigator: Jane Huggins, PhD University of Michigan
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Jane Huggins, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, University of Michigan Identifier: NCT01123200     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: J0002
Study First Received: May 4, 2010
Results First Received: January 12, 2017
Last Updated: March 14, 2017

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Motor Neuron Disease
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Neuromuscular Diseases
Spinal Cord Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
TDP-43 Proteinopathies
Proteostasis Deficiencies
Metabolic Diseases processed this record on August 23, 2017