Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 78, Issue 10, pp 13675–13712 | Cite as

Developing and evaluating a BCI video game for neurofeedback training: the case of autism

  • Jose MercadoEmail author
  • Ismael Espinosa-Curiel
  • Lizbeth Escobedo
  • Monica Tentori


BCI video games are making brain training increasingly popular and available; yet scientific evidence to support its efficacy is lacking. Real-life descriptions of BCI video games deployments in concrete scenarios are urgently needed. In this paper, we report a use case of the development and pilot-testing of a BCI video game designed to support children with autism when attending to Neurofeedback training sessions, called FarmerKeeper. Caring for children with autism may impose new cognitive, motor, behavioral, and attention challenges that current solutions targeted for other populations may not address. The goal of the game is to maintain children’s attention above a threshold to control a runner who is seeking for lost farm animals. FarmerKeeper uses a consumer-grade BCI headset to read user’s attention. We evaluated FarmerKeeper’s usability and user experience through a 4-weeks deployment study with 12 children with autism. Our quantitative results show FarmerKeeper outperforms a commercial BCI video game used for neurofeedback training, and qualitatively, FarmerKeeper could successfully support children with autism when attending to neurofeedback training sessions by possibly improving their attention and reducing their anxiety. We close reflecting on our design aspects and discussing directions for future work.


Autism Brain-computer Interface Neurofeedback Video game BCI Attention 



We thank all the participants enrolled in this study and the researchers and reviewers who provide helpful comments on previous versions of this document. We also thank CONACYT for the first author fellowship and we thank to the CONACYT project #2209 of the fourth author for their financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose Mercado
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ismael Espinosa-Curiel
    • 2
  • Lizbeth Escobedo
    • 3
  • Monica Tentori
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceCICESEEnsenadaMexico
  2. 2.CICESE-UT3TepicMexico
  3. 3.School of EngineeringCETYS UniversidadTijuanaMexico

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