University of Cologne


Development of brain-computer interface (BCI)-controlled communication aids (pilot study)

The project objective is a pilot study in order to develop a brainwave-controlled and linguistically re-designed communication aid for people with severe neurological and motor impairments (cerebral palsy (CP), locked-in syndrome (LiS), ALS patients (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and speaking difficulties. Despite comprehensive research on BCI applications, it has not yet been possible to develop and implement a reliable communication aid for people with severe cerebral organic and/or degenerative diseases. Research has focused its attention mainly on BCI technology, not on user interfaces and communication content. However, the technical development of a communication aid can only be implemented successfully if the contents are also sufficient to enable the individuals targeted to communicate successfully, i.e. to (re)experience communication as meaningful and rewarding. In the long term, this project aims to create the conditions for developing a communication aid with a BCI interface that is suitable for implementation. Current results of BCI research (University of Applied Sciences Kleve) and core vocabulary research (University of Cologne, AAC Research Centre) will be combined as a new device (prototype) and evaluated by patients.


Target group

Adults, literate people with severe neurological and motor impairments and AAC needs

Funded by

Marga und Walter Boll-Stiftung

Project duration

01.10.2018 – 01.12.2019

Project management

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Karolin Schäfer

Cooperation Partners:

  • Prof. Dr. Jens Boenisch (University of Cologne, FBZ-UK)
  • Prof. Dr. Ivan Volosyak (Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Kleve)