Cognitive processes and brain-machine interfaces

A half-day wokshop at the
June 6th, 13h30-17h00, Heather Room
Asilomar, CA, USA




A substantial part of research on brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) focuses on using cerebral electrophysiological correlates of motor activity to operate devices. However, brain correlates of cognitive processes can also be exploited in order to enhance human-machine interaction. For instance, invasive and non-invasive BMIs have explored correlates of error awareness to correct misclassification or as a teaching signal to improve performance; complementary research on invasively recorded reward-related activity has also been undertaken. Other approaches attempt to decode neural activity related to attentional and anticipatory processes, as well as sensory processing and mental workload.

Conversely, BMIs can also provide valuable information to better understand the neurophysiology of such cognitive processes. In particular they allow to study these processes in interactive environments, as opposed to the traditionally used experimental paradigms. Recent work has shown how BMI paradigms can be used to study subjective senses of limb ownership and agency – a seemingly crucial aspect for efficient motor neuroprosthetics.

This workshop will present some of the most exciting research done recently in this regard, paving the way for discussing the major challenges in the field.




Nathan EVANS / Olaf BLANKE, LNCO, Center for Neuroprosthetics, EPFL, Switzerland

Scott Roset / Justin SANCHEZ, Neuroprosthetics Research Group, University of Miami, USA

Ricardo CHAVARRIAGA / Aleksander SOBOLEWSKI, CNBI, Center for Neuroprosthetics, EPFL, Switzerland

Target Audience

The workshop is aimed at both novice and experienced researchers on BMI, as well as researchers in cognitive neuroscience and psychology.

Each participant will be asked to provide a short description (1 slide) about his/her research and up to 3 major points he/she wants to see addressed in this workshop beforehand. Selected contributions will be presented during the workshop as spotlights to trigger targeted discussion among participants.


R. Chavarriaga and J. d. R. Millán. Learning from EEG Error-related Potentials in Noninvasive Brain-Computer Interfaces, in IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, vol. 18, num. 4, p. 381-388, 2010.

R. Chavarriaga, X. Perrin, R. Siegwart and J. d. R. Millán. Anticipation- and Error-related EEG Signals during Realistic Human-Machine interaction: A Study on Visual and Tactile Feedback. Int  Conf of the IEEE/EMBS, San Diego, USA, 2012.

J. DiGiovanna, B. Mahmoudi, J. Fortes, J. C. Principe, and J. C. Sanchez, Brain-Machine Interface via Reinforcement Learning, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering special issue on Hybrid Bionics, vol. 56, pp. 54-64, 2009.

N. Evans and O. Blanke. Shared electrophysiology mechanisms of body ownership and motor imagery NeuroImage, vol. 64, num. 1, 2013

G. Garipelli, R. Chavarriaga and J. d. R. Millán. Single trial analysis of slow cortical potentials: A study on anticipation related potentials, accepted in Journal of Neural Engineering, 2013.

L. Tonin, R. Leeb and J. d. R. Millán. Time-Dependent Approach for Single Trial Classification of Covert Visuospatial Attention. Journal of Neural Engineering, vol. 9, num. 4, p. 045011, 2012. 


Ricardo Chavarriaga, José del R. Millán
Defitech Foundation Chair in Non-invasive Brain-machine Interface
Center for Neuroprosthetics, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)