Brain-Computer Interfaces and Human-Computer Interaction

  • Desney TanEmail author
  • Anton Nijholt
Part of the Human-Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


Advances in cognitive neuroscience and brain imaging technologies have started to provide us with the ability to interface directly with the human brain. This ability is made possible through the use of sensors that can monitor some of the physical processes that occur within the brain that correspond with certain forms of thought. Researchers have used these technologies to build brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), communication systems that do not depend on the brain’s normal output pathways of peripheral nerves and muscles. In these systems, users explicitly manipulate their brain activity instead of using motor movements to produce signals that can be used to control computers or communication devices.

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researchers explore possibilities that allow computers to use as many sensory channels as possible. Additionally, researchers have started to consider implicit forms of input, that is, input that is not explicitly performed to direct a computer to do something. Researchers attempt to infer information about user state and intent by observing their physiology, behavior, or the environment in which they operate. Using this information, systems can dynamically adapt themselves in order to support the user in the task at hand.

BCIs are now mature enough that HCI researchers must add them to their tool belt when designing novel input techniques. In this introductory chapter to the book we present the novice reader with an overview of relevant aspects of BCI and HCI, so that hopefully they are inspired by the opportunities that remain.


Brain Imaging Near Infrared Spectroscopy Brain Signal Motor Movement Novice Reader 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Microsoft ResearchRedmondUSA
  2. 2.University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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