ITK Team at the CYBATHLON Brain-Computer Interface Technologies Preparation Competition

2023.10.12.

Since its inception in 2013, over 100 teams from more than 30 countries have participated in CYBATHLON competitions, which are held in increasingly diverse formats and across various fields. 

Our Integrative Neuroscience research group first participated in the CYBATHLON Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) competition in 2016. In this competition, the pilot must control a computer game by consciously altering their brain activity. The BCI system, using electroencephalographic amplifiers, detects the pilot's brain activity, classifies the issued commands through a complex signal processing process, and, after classification, sends the appropriate control commands to the game using artificial intelligence. 

This year, representing ITK were Csaba Köllőd as team captain, András Adolf PhD student as co-developer, and Professor Kristóf Iván as the ITK CYBATHLON coordinator. The Ebrainers team's pilots were Zoltán Boda and Zoltán Csortos, with Boda Zoltán taking the driver's seat on this occasion. The team has been in contact with the pilots for three years and has been practicing with them weekly (with occasional interruptions), at the Integrated Institution for Persons with Disabilities in Budapest. The pilots live with C4 cervical vertebra injuries, which means they can only navigate using an electric wheelchair, controlled by a chin-mounted joystick. 

During the competition, three tasks had to be completed: 

  1. Controlling a virtual wheelchair from one corner of the room to another.
  2. Using a virtual robotic arm to hold a glass under an ice dispenser.
  3. Directing the cursor on the monitor to an icon and clicking on it.

The greatest challenge was that the prototype of the system capable of controlling the game was completed in the very last minute, leaving no time for the pilot's comprehensive preparation. Over the next year, the team will focus on training both the pilot and the artificial intelligence so that proper control can be achieved in the official competition scheduled for October 2024. 

Congratulations to the team! 

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