Advances in Physiological Computing

Part of the series Human–Computer Interaction Series pp 117-139


Using fNIRS to Measure Mental Workload in the Real World

  • Evan M. PeckAffiliated withTufts University Email author 
  • , Daniel AferganAffiliated withTufts University
  • , Beste F. YukselAffiliated withTufts University
  • , Francine LaloosesAffiliated withTufts University
  • , Robert J. K. JacobAffiliated withTufts University

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In the past decade, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) has seen increasing use as a non-invasive brain sensing technology. Using optical signals to approximate blood-oxygenation levels in localized regions of the brain, the appeal of the fNIRS signal is that it is relatively robust to movement artifacts and comparable to fMRI measures. We provide an overview of research that builds towards the use of fNIRS to monitor user workload in real world environments, and eventually to act as input to biocybernetic systems. While there are still challenges for the use of fNIRS in real world environments, its unique characteristics make it an appealing alternative for monitoring the cognitive processes of a user.