Monday, October 13, 2014

BCI Workshop in Lisbon

Recently attended a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) workshop from g.tec and University of Lisbon for a hands-on session on the three major BCI approaches: (1) motor imagery, (2) P300 and (3) steady state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP) for both assistive and restorative BCI.
Currently these paradigms are incorporated in VR for neurorehabilitation from our lab.


Sunday, July 27, 2014


Two papers will be presented at the ICDVRAT 2014 conference - 10th International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies at Gothenburg, Sweden in September 2–4, 2014.

Quantifying Cognitive-Motor Interference in Virtual Reality Training after Stroke: the Role of Interfaces

Authors: Athanasios Vourvopoulos, Ana Lúcia Faria, Mónica Cameirão, Sergi Bermudez i Badia

Globally, stroke is the second leading cause of death above the age of 60 years, with the actual number of strokes to increase because of the ageing population. Stroke results into chronic conditions, loss of independence, affecting both the families of stroke survivors but also public health systems. Virtual Reality (VR) for rehabilitation is considered a novel and effective low-cost approach to re-train motor and cognitive function through strictly defined training tasks in a safe simulated environment. However, little is known about how the choice of VR interfacing technology affects motor and cognitive performance, or what the most cost-effective rehabilitation approach for patients with different prognostics is. In this paper we assessed the effect of four different interfaces in the training of the motor and cognitive domains within a VR neurorehabilitation task. In this study we have evaluated the effect of training using 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional as well as traditional and natural user interfaces with both stroke survivors and healthy participants. Results indicate that 3-dimensional interfaces contribute towards better results in the motor domain at the cost of lower performance in the cognitive domain, suggesting the use 2-dimensional natural user interfaces as a trade-off. Our results provide useful pointers for future directions towards a cost-effective and meaningful interaction in virtual rehabilitation tasks in both motor and cognitive domains.

An integrative virtual reality cognitive-motor intervention approach in stroke rehabilitation: a pilot study

Authors: Ana Lúcia Faria, Athanasios Vourvopoulos, Mónica Cameirão, Jean-Claude Fernandes, Sergi Bermudez i Badia

Stroke is one of the most common causes of acquired disability, leaving numerous adults with cognitive and motor impairments, and affecting patient's capability to live independently. In post-stroke it is imperative to initiate a process of intensive rehabilitation and personalized objectives to maximize functional cognitive and motor recovery. Virtual Reality (VR) technology is being widely applied to rehabilitation of stroke, however, not in an integrative manner. Like traditional rehabilitation, these new tools mostly focus either in the cognitive or in the motor domain, which can take to a reduced impact in the performance of activities of daily living, most of them dual-task. Assuming the existence of cognitive and motor recovery interdependence, RehabNet proposes a holistic approach. Here we present a one-month long pilot study with three stroke patients whose training was a game-like VR version of the Toulouse-Piéron cancellation test, adapted to be performed by repetitive arm reaching movements. A standardized motor and cognitive assessment was performed pre and post intervention. The first results on this intervention support a holistic model for rehabilitation of stroke patients, sustaining interdependence on cognitive and motor recovery. Furthermore, we observed that the impact of the integrative VR approach generalizes to the performance of the activities of daily living.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

OpenBCI hybrid for Rehab

An undergoing project using the blueprints from the OpenBCI headware is moving towards the implementation of an Open VR+BCI system for neurorehabilitation with the use of NeuroRehabLab VR content. The current 3D-printable headset prototype has been modified in order to accommodate the custom EEG boards and electronics of our lab. This hybrid project (OpenBCI+NeuroRehabVR) is going to be launched hopefully within the next months.

Figure 1: 3D printing the first parts (20% density)

Figure 2-3: The first prototype with most of the parts. Top and rear view.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rehab 2014

Two papers will be presented at the REHAB 2014 Workshop in PervasiveHealth'14 - 8th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare that will take place at Oldenburg, Germany, 20 May, 2014.

An Assistive Mobile Platform for Delivering Knowledge of Performance Feedback.

Authors: Davide Neves, Athanasios Vourvopoulos, Mónica Cameirão, Sergi Bermudez i Badia

Upper limb motor deficits caused by stroke have a big impact on a person’s daily activities and independence. One strategy for promoting motor relearning consists on the delivery of meaningful feedback during rehabilitative training. In this paper we describe the development and first evaluation of a system that combines a portable arm orthosis device and a mobile application running on a tablet in order to provide knowledge of performance to stroke patients while performing therapy. Here we present preliminary results and discuss the potential of this technology.

Eye Gaze Patterns after Stroke: Correlates of a VR Action Execution and Observation Task.

Authors: Júlio Alves, Athanasios Vourvopoulos, Alexandre Bernardino, Sergi Bermúdez i Badia

The concept of a partially shared neural network between action observation and action execution in healthy participants has been demonstrated through a number of studies. However, little research has been done in this regard utilizing eye movement metrics in rehabilitation contexts. In this study we approach action observation and action execution by means of the combination of a virtual environment and eye tracking technology. Participants consisted of stroke survivors, and were required to perform a simple reach-and-grab and place-and-release task with both their paretic and non-paretic arm. Results showed congruency in gaze metrics between action execution and action observation, for distribution and duration of gaze events. However, significant differences in the total number of fixations, saccades and smooth pursuit segments suggest different underlying mechanisms for execution and observation. We therefore extend the understanding of gaze metrics across these conditions in people with deficits derived from stroke.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


This week the "RehabNet: A Distributed Architecture for Motor and Cognitive Neuro-Rehabilitation" paper had been presented at the 15th International Conference on E-Health Networking, Application and Services (IEEE Healthcom'13) in Lisbon, getting positive feedback.

Healthcom 2013 is fully sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society and combines elements from both health and technology domains. The Conference Proceedings will be published at IEEEXplore but a copy of the paper can be also found here.