A brain-computer interface using electrocorticographic signals in humans

Eric C. Leuthardt, Gerwin Schalk, Jonathan R. Wolpaw, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, Daniel W. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

702 Scopus citations


Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) enable users to control devices with electroencephalographic (EEG) activity from the scalp or with single-neuron activity from within the brain. Both methods have disadvantages: EEG has limited resolution and requires extensive training, while single-neuron recording entails significant clinical risks and has limited stability. We demonstrate here for the first time that electrocorticographic (ECoG) activity recorded from the surface of the brain can enable users to control a one-dimensional computer cursor rapidly and accurately. We first identified ECoG signals that were associated with different types of motor and speech imagery. Over brief training periods of 3-24 min, four patients then used these signals to master closed-loop control and to achieve success rates of 74-100% in a one-dimensional binary task. In additional open-loop experiments, we found that ECoG signals at frequencies up to 180 Hz encoded substantial information about the direction of two-dimensional joystick movements. Our results suggest that an ECoG-based BCI could provide for people with severe motor disabilities a non-muscular communication and control option that is more powerful thzan EEG-based BCIs and is potentially more stable and less traumatic than BCIs that use electrodes penetrating the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004


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