Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)


The Usability of Commercial BCI Devices: A Comparison for Researchers and Experimenters


Joshua I. Ekandem

Document Type



Human-Centered Computing

Publication Date

Spring 2013


Developments in brain computer interface (BCI) technology has captured a significant amount of media attention within the last half-decade. Though receiving favorable reviews for their commercial potential, the usability of these devices have not been received with similar favor. This poster presents findings of an exploratory within-subjects experiment aimed at examining the feasibility of using two commercial BCI devices the EPOC and the MindWave in a research setting. Feasibility is considered in light of 1) the duration of time needed for an experimenter to prepare the device for use, 2) the reliability of at least 75% signal strength during 15 minutes of use, 3) self-reported comfort rating from participants. The results show that the MindWave (17s.) outperformed the EPOC (116s.) in average seconds needed to prepare the device for use. During the trials, the MindWave maintained signal strength of 75% whereas the EPOC fell below this threshold on a number of trials. However, the EPOC was considered most comfortable by a majority of participants; with over half of the participants reporting that the MindWave caused them discomfort. Based on these results, we suggest that human factor requirements be considered more seriously when selecting a commercial BCI for research and experimentation.

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