BrainAble was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of therapists, researchers and engineers on the frontier of neuroscience, signal processing, assistive technologies and automatic learning and is already having an impact on the growing market of accessible, inclusive and assistive products from an innovative perspective. BrainAble has demonstrated the benefits that advanced technologies bring to people with physical disabilities so severe that they cannot interact with their environment (home, friends, family, etc.) independently. Specifically, the project has developed a prototype that allows these people to perform actions that they could not otherwise, such as writing and communicating in social networks, turning on and off the light or the television, controlling any digital home appliance, like a wheelchair, and playing in and exploring virtual environments for their entertainment. And all this is possible simply by reading electrical brain signals, without moving a muscle.
This prototype consists of a combination of human-computer interfaces composed of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) sensors with other physiological sensors that measure a person's physical and emotional state (affective computing) and with virtual reality environments, and the connection of these interfaces with smart homes and online social networks. Thanks to this combination of technologies, the BrainAble prototype can read the brain impulses generated by the user to carry out a particular activity (for example, changing the television channel), interpret them and act on his/her behalf in the home or social environment. Furthermore, the system learns the user's habits and tries to understand the context in which they are being used, looking to automate some common actions (for example, regulating the temperature of the home according to the user's taste). It can also monitor whether the patient is tired, and if he/she is, it can adapt and become easier to use. Thus, by giving them more autonomy in their daily lives, the BrainAble system allows people with severe functional disabilities to improve their social inclusion and the quality of their lives.