T18: Non-invasive Brain-Computer Interfaces for stroke rehabilitation and consciousness assessment

Tuesday, 25 July 2023, 08:30 - 12:30 CEST (Copenhagen)
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Alexander Lechner, MSc. (short bio)

g.tec medical engineering GmbH, Austria

Prof. Natalie Mrachacz-Kersting, PhD (short bio)

University of Freiburg, Germany

Benjamin Svejgaard, MD, BSc (short bio)

Center for Neurotechnology and Rehabilitation, Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark

Dr. Günter Edlinger (short bio)

g.tec medical engineering GmbH, Austria



Lately, Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) systems become increasingly used in the context of stroke rehabilitation. Many BCI systems are based on motor imagery activity recorded from the sensorimotor cortex, which is translated into continuous control signals for rehabilitation devices. The tutorial will review current stroke rehabilitation using BCI technology and will provide insight into technology, experimental setups, results, and outcomes of patient studies. Some patients diagnosed as vegetative are reclassified as (at least) minimally conscious when assessed by expert teams. A further subset of potentially communicative non-responsive patients might be undetectable through standard clinical testing. Other patients might have transient periods of relative wakefulness but remain unaware of their surroundings. The tutorial will provide an overview of BCI technology to identify non-responsive patients that might be able to communicate and use the technology as an assessment tool.



General principles of BCI for stroke rehabilitation, coma assessment and communication will be explained, so the audience will get an inside into the topic. Further participants will be able to understand the target patient group. Participants will learn about state-of-the-art in BCI stroke rehabilitation, coma assessment and communication. Main content:

  • insights into recent hardware (wireless/non-wireless) for BCI research
  • insights into the software for BCI research enabling participants to run their own experiments
  • giving participants the chance to analyze their BCI performance
  • demonstrations of applications
  • Assessment of consciousness (mindBEAGLE), stroke rehabilitation (recoveriX)
  • discussing advantages/disadvantages of dry/wet sensors
  • discussing non-invasive and invasive BCI approaches
  • using BCI technologies in clinical environment


Target Audience:

The goal of the tutorial is to bring together researchers and interested attendees, to describe and demonstrate the options available in the field of Brain-Computer Interfaces. We will highlight the usability and reliability of BCI control, which now allows the development and displaying of more advanced applications. We think that such a tutorial will be very appealing to audience members working in the area of HCI combining different modalities for interactions, including the medical field.

Bio Sketches of Presenters:

Alexander Lechner, MSc.
Alexander Lechner studied technical mathematics and bioinformatics at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. His master thesis treats the development of support vector machines. Since 2011 he works in sales for g.tec medical engineering GmbH, based in Austria. The company develops hardware and software for biosignal acquisition and analysis. Alexander Lechner is also part of EU-funded projects. He is a field expert and specialist for BCI-based applications in the medical field especially used in the rehabilitation of stroke patients and in the assessment of disorders of consciousness patients.

Prof. Natalie Mrachacz-Kersting, PhD
Professor Natalie Mrachacz-Kersting received her PhD in Biomedical Science and Engineering from The University of Aalborg, Denmark in 2005 and held several post-doc positions at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and Aalborg University, Denmark. From 2007 she was Associate Professor at the Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction, Aalborg University until she moved in 2020 to the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund, Germany as a Full Professor in Neuroscience and Medical Technologies. Since 2021 she is a Full Professor at the University of Freiburg, where she is since 2022 the managing director, of the department of sport and sports sciences.
Her research focuses on neurorehabilitation technology and neural control of movement. Within these areas, she has (co)-authored approximately 70 papers in peer-reviewed Journals and >150 conference abstracts and papers. She was the recipient of the International Award in Brain-Computer-Interfaces in 2017 and has received several prestigious grants from the Innovation Fond of Denmark, Kong Christian den Tiendes Fond, Lundbeck Fond and the Obel Family Foundation of Denmark. She is currently Associate-Editor of several journals including Brain-Computer-Interfaces, the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, and Brain-Computer Interfaces - specialty section of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Benjamin Svejgaard, MD, BSc
Benjamin Svejgaard is a medical doctor and neurotechnologist at Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark. He received his medical degree from Aarhus University, Denmark in 2016, but has been engaged in neurophysiology and teaching since 2012.

Since 2018, he has been employed at the Department of Neurology, Aalborg University Hospital specializing in acute stroke treatment and rehabilitation. In that capacity, he teaches clinical neurology to last year medical students and resident doctors, and gives lectures on neuroscience and technology to the general public.

Currently, he is part of the steering committee of the Danish Center for Neurotechnology and Rehabilitation, and is project lead at the BCI-STAR study in Brønderslev, Northern Jutland. The BCI-STAR project aims to develop a specialized Brain-Computer Interface system for rehabilitation of upper limb function in stroke survivors, and is currently in their second year of clinical trials.

Dr. Guenter Edlinger
Dr. Guenter Edlinger studied control engineering at the University of Technology Graz and carried out research work at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (Prof. Pfurtscheller) at the University of Technology Graz. He worked there as an assistant professor and teacher and received his PhD degree in 1998. The topic of his PhD work was the design of High-Resolution EEG systems. He is co-founder of g.tec. He has been responsible for R&D with special emphasis on the development and production of medical systems for over 20 years.