communication aids for disabled


Summary: Equipment that provides mentally or physically disabled persons with a means of communication. The aids include display boards, typewriters, cathode ray tubes, computers, and speech synthesizers. The output of such aids includes written words, artificial speech, language signs, Morse code, and pictures.

Top Publications

  1. Anson D, Lawler G, Kissinger A, Timko M, Tuminski J, Drew B. Efficacy of three head-pointing devices for a mouse emulation task. Assist Technol. 2002;14:140-50 pubmed
    ..The two fastest devices, the HeadMaster Plus and Tracer, both resulted in complaints regarding comfort, whereas the most comfortable device, the Tracker 2000, was preferred by participants although it was slightly slower in performance. ..
  2. Borisoff J, Mason S, Birch G. Brain interface research for asynchronous control applications. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2006;14:160-4 pubmed
    ..This report summarizes our results to date, lessons learned, and current directions, including research into implanted brain interface designs. ..
  3. Bianchi L, Quitadamo L, Garreffa G, Cardarilli G, Marciani M. Performances evaluation and optimization of brain computer interface systems in a copy spelling task. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2007;15:207-16 pubmed
  4. Ikegami S, Takano K, Saeki N, Kansaku K. Operation of a P300-based brain-computer interface by individuals with cervical spinal cord injury. Clin Neurophysiol. 2011;122:991-6 pubmed publisher
    ..The P300 BCI with the green/blue flicker matrices is effective for use not only in able-bodied subjects, but also in individuals with cervical SCI. ..
  5. Lee P, Yeh C, Cheng J, Yang C, Lan G. An SSVEP-based BCI using high duty-cycle visual flicker. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2011;58:3350-9 pubmed publisher
    ..An 89.5% duty-cycle flicker, reported as a comfortable flicker, was adopted in a phase-tagged SSVEP system. Six subjects were asked to sequentially input a sequence of cursor commands with the 25.08-bits/min ITR. ..
  6. McFarland D, Sarnacki W, Townsend G, VAUGHAN T, Wolpaw J. The P300-based brain-computer interface (BCI): effects of stimulus rate. Clin Neurophysiol. 2011;122:731-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Considering also presentation time, the optimal rate differs among users, and thus should be set empirically for each user. Optimal flash rate might also vary with other parameters such as the number of items in the matrix. ..
  7. Sellers E, Vaughan T, Wolpaw J. A brain-computer interface for long-term independent home use. Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 2010;11:449-55 pubmed publisher
    ..In conclusion, long-term independent home use of this BCI system is practical for severely disabled people, and can contribute significantly to quality of life and productivity. ..
  8. Gollee H, Volosyak I, McLachlan A, Hunt K, Graser A. An SSVEP-based brain-computer interface for the control of functional electrical stimulation. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2010;57:1847-55 pubmed publisher
    ..The results indicate that the system could be used to control FES-based neuroprostheses with a high degree of accuracy and robustness. ..
  9. Zickler C, Riccio A, Leotta F, Hillian Tress S, Halder S, Holz E, et al. A brain-computer interface as input channel for a standard assistive technology software. Clin EEG Neurosci. 2011;42:236-44 pubmed
    ..Users and assistive technology experts were quite satisfied with the device. However, none could imagine using the device in daily life without improvements. Main obstacles were the EEG-cap and low speed. ..

Scientific Experts

More Information


  1. Klobassa D, Vaughan T, Brunner P, Schwartz N, Wolpaw J, Neuper C, et al. Toward a high-throughput auditory P300-based brain-computer interface. Clin Neurophysiol. 2009;120:1252-61 pubmed publisher
    ..With further development, this auditory P300 BCI could be of substantial value to severely disabled people who cannot use a visual BCI. ..
  2. Hawley M, Cunningham S, Green P, Enderby P, Palmer R, Sehgal S, et al. A voice-input voice-output communication aid for people with severe speech impairment. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2013;21:23-31 pubmed publisher
    ..These limitations will be addressed in future work. ..
  3. Cabrera A, Farina D, Dremstrup K. Comparison of feature selection and classification methods for a brain-computer interface driven by non-motor imagery. Med Biol Eng Comput. 2010;48:123-32 pubmed publisher
    ..The results are relevant for the choice of the translation algorithm for an on-line BCI system based on non-motor imagery. ..
  4. Lee P, Hsieh J, Wu C, Shyu K, Chen S, Yeh T, et al. The brain computer interface using flash visual evoked potential and independent component analysis. Ann Biomed Eng. 2006;34:1641-54 pubmed
    ..The mean detection accuracy resulted from averaging 15 epochs was 99.7%. Another experiment was to generate a specified string '0287513694E'. The mean accuracy and information transfer rates were 83% and 23.06 bits/min, respectively. ..
  5. Nijboer F, Furdea A, Gunst I, Mellinger J, McFarland D, Birbaumer N, et al. An auditory brain-computer interface (BCI). J Neurosci Methods. 2008;167:43-50 pubmed
    ..We conclude that with sufficient training time an auditory BCI may be as efficient as a visual BCI. Mood and motivation play a role in learning to use a BCI. ..
  6. Kubler A, Mushahwar V, Hochberg L, Donoghue J. BCI Meeting 2005--workshop on clinical issues and applications. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2006;14:131-4 pubmed
    ..These include potential BCI users, applications, validation, getting BCIs to users, role of government and industry, plasticity, and ethics. ..
  7. Murphy J, Tester S, Hubbard G, Downs M, MacDonald C. Enabling frail older people with a communication difficulty to express their views: the use of Talking Mats as an interview tool. Health Soc Care Community. 2005;13:95-107 pubmed
    ..The study concludes that Talking Mats is a useful and enjoyable method of allowing frail older people with a communication disability to express views which they have difficulty conveying otherwise. ..
  8. Schalk G, McFarland D, Hinterberger T, Birbaumer N, Wolpaw J. BCI2000: a general-purpose brain-computer interface (BCI) system. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2004;51:1034-43 pubmed
    ..It is available with full documentation and free of charge for research or educational purposes and is currently being used in a variety of studies by many research groups. ..
  9. Kennedy P, Kirby M, Moore M, King B, Mallory A. Computer control using human intracortical local field potentials. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2004;12:339-44 pubmed
    ..This report focuses on the progress of two subjects toward effective use of their "virtual" neuro-prosthetic devices to meet their assistive technology needs. ..
  10. Biswas P, Samanta D. Friend: a communication aid for persons with disabilities. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2008;16:205-9 pubmed publisher
    ..The adaptation mechanism is continued during as well as after the end of interactions to make the system personalized to individual user. ..
  11. Hinterberger T, Widman G, Lal T, Hill J, Tangermann M, Rosenstiel W, et al. Voluntary brain regulation and communication with electrocorticogram signals. Epilepsy Behav. 2008;13:300-6 pubmed publisher
    ..The high spatial resolution and increased signal-to-noise ratio in ECoG signals, combined with short training periods, may offer an alternative for communication in complete paralysis, locked-in syndrome, and motor restoration. ..
  12. Bhattacharya S, Samanta D, Basu A. Performance models for automatic evaluation of virtual scanning keyboards. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2008;16:510-9 pubmed publisher
    ..The proposed models address the limitations present in the reported work on similar models. We compared the model predictions with results from user trials and established the validity of the proposed models. ..
  13. Blankertz B, Dornhege G, Krauledat M, Muller K, Curio G. The non-invasive Berlin Brain-Computer Interface: fast acquisition of effective performance in untrained subjects. Neuroimage. 2007;37:539-50 pubmed
  14. Hawley M, Enderby P, Green P, Cunningham S, Brownsell S, Carmichael J, et al. A speech-controlled environmental control system for people with severe dysarthria. Med Eng Phys. 2007;29:586-93 pubmed
    ..7s versus 16.9s, p<0.001). It is concluded that a speech-controlled ECS is a viable alternative to switch-scanning systems for some people with severe dysarthria and would lead, in many cases, to more efficient control of the home...
  15. Hinterberger T, Kubler A, Kaiser J, Neumann N, Birbaumer N. A brain-computer interface (BCI) for the locked-in: comparison of different EEG classifications for the thought translation device. Clin Neurophysiol. 2003;114:416-25 pubmed
    ..For future BCIs, wavelet transformed data should serve for BCIs without immediate feedback. A stepwise wavelet transformation would even allow immediate feedback. ..
  16. Betke M, Gips J, Fleming P. The camera mouse: visual tracking of body features to provide computer access for people with severe disabilities. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2002;10:1-10 pubmed
    ..Twelve people with severe cerebral palsy or traumatic brain injury have tried the system, nine of whom have shown success. They interacted with their environment by spelling out messages and exploring the Internet. ..
  17. Wolpaw J, Birbaumer N, McFarland D, Pfurtscheller G, Vaughan T. Brain-computer interfaces for communication and control. Clin Neurophysiol. 2002;113:767-91 pubmed
  18. Trejo L, Rosipal R, Matthews B. Brain-computer interfaces for 1-D and 2-D cursor control: designs using volitional control of the EEG spectrum or steady-state visual evoked potentials. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2006;14:225-9 pubmed
    ..We have also developed a realistic demonstration of our system for control of a moving map display ( ..
  19. Barea R, Boquete L, Mazo M, Lopez E. System for assisted mobility using eye movements based on electrooculography. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2002;10:209-18 pubmed
    ..Results obtained show that this control technique could be useful in multiple applications, such as mobility and communication aid for handicapped persons. ..
  20. Buttfield A, Ferrez P, Millan J. Towards a robust BCI: error potentials and online learning. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2006;14:164-8 pubmed
    ..We also discuss the future direction of this research, including the combination of these two currently separate issues to create a potentially very powerful BCI. ..
  21. Birbaumer N, Hinterberger T, Kubler A, Neumann N. The thought-translation device (TTD): neurobehavioral mechanisms and clinical outcome. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2003;11:120-3 pubmed
    ..The clinical outcome of 11 paralyzed patients using the TTD and quality of life of severely paralyzed patients is described. First attempts to improve learning of brain regulation with transcranial magnetic stimulation were successful. ..
  22. Stepp C, Heaton J, Rolland R, Hillman R. Neck and face surface electromyography for prosthetic voice control after total laryngectomy. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2009;17:146-55 pubmed publisher
  23. Polur P, Miller G. Effect of high-frequency spectral components in computer recognition of dysarthric speech based on a Mel-cepstral stochastic model. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2005;42:363-71 pubmed
    ..However, its application as a rehabilitation/control tool to assist dysarthric motor-impaired individuals such as cerebral palsy subjects holds sufficient promise. ..
  24. Bhattacharya S, Basu A, Samanta D. Computational modeling of user errors for the design of virtual scanning keyboards. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2008;16:400-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Methods employed in our study, results obtained, the predictive user models, the error measure, and the proposed design method are presented in this paper. ..
  25. Chen Y. Application of tilt sensors in human-computer mouse interface for people with disabilities. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2001;9:289-94 pubmed
    ..Operator may puff his cheek to trigger the device to perform single click, double clicks, and drag commands. This system was invented to assist people with disabilities to live an independent professional life. ..
  26. Sellers E, Krusienski D, McFarland D, Vaughan T, Wolpaw J. A P300 event-related potential brain-computer interface (BCI): the effects of matrix size and inter stimulus interval on performance. Biol Psychol. 2006;73:242-52 pubmed
    ..This work demonstrates that matrix size and ISI are important variables to consider when optimizing a BCI system for individual users and that a P300-BCI can be used for effective communication. ..
  27. Tonet O, Marinelli M, Citi L, Rossini P, Rossini L, Megali G, et al. Defining brain-machine interface applications by matching interface performance with device requirements. J Neurosci Methods. 2008;167:91-104 pubmed
    ..Combining smart controllers with BMIs could improve interactivity and boost BMI applications. ..
  28. Trejo L, Wheeler K, Jorgensen C, Rosipal R, Clanton S, Matthews B, et al. Multimodal neuroelectric interface development. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2003;11:199-204 pubmed
  29. Chen H, Chen C, Lu C, Wu C. Pointing device usage guidelines for people with quadriplegia: a simulation and validation study utilizing an integrated pointing device apparatus. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2009;17:279-86 pubmed publisher
    ..The priority for selecting which body part should control the pointing devices was as follows: unilateral hands, unilateral wrist/hands, and either bilateral body parts or a limb and chin/head/neck in combination...
  30. Wolpaw J. Brain-computer interfaces as new brain output pathways. J Physiol. 2007;579:613-9 pubmed
  31. Serby H, Yom Tov E, Inbar G. An improved P300-based brain-computer interface. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2005;13:89-98 pubmed
    ..8 symbols/min with an accuracy of 56 % in Donchin's work. The presented BCI achieves excellent performance compared to other existing BCIs, and allows a reasonable communication rate, while maintaining a low error rate. ..
  32. Burke D, Kelly S, de Chazal P, Reilly R, Finucane C. A parametric feature extraction and classification strategy for brain-computer interfacing. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2005;13:12-7 pubmed
    ..8+/-4.8% and the ARX method an accuracy of 79.1+/-3.9 % across subjects. The results suggest a role for ARX-based feature extraction in BCIs based on evoked and event-related potentials. ..
  33. Perelmouter J, Birbaumer N. A binary spelling interface with random errors. IEEE Trans Rehabil Eng. 2000;8:227-32 pubmed
  34. Borghetti D, Bruni A, Fabbrini M, Murri L, Sartucci F. A low-cost interface for control of computer functions by means of eye movements. Comput Biol Med. 2007;37:1765-70 pubmed
    ..Our results confirm those obtained in previous studies: eye-movement interface can be used to properly control computer functions and to assist communication of movement-impaired patients. ..
  35. Mason S, Birch G. A general framework for brain-computer interface design. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2003;11:70-85 pubmed
    ..The representational power of the proposed framework was evaluated by applying it to a set of existing BCI technologies. The framework could effectively describe all of the BCI System designs tested. ..
  36. Obermaier B, Neuper C, Guger C, Pfurtscheller G. Information transfer rate in a five-classes brain-computer interface. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2001;9:283-8 pubmed
    ..42 to 0.81 bits per trial and reveal that the upper limit of different mental tasks for a BCI system is three. In each subject, different combinations of three tasks resulted in the best performance. ..
  37. Scherer R, Lee F, Schlogl A, Leeb R, Bischof H, Pfurtscheller G. Toward self-paced brain-computer communication: navigation through virtual worlds. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2008;55:675-82 pubmed publisher
    ..Eye movements (electrooculogram) and electromyographic artifacts were reduced and detected online. The results of three able-bodied subjects are reported and problems emerging from self-paced control are discussed. ..
  38. LoPresti E, Brienza D. Adaptive software for head-operated computer controls. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2004;12:102-11 pubmed
    ..In addition, five current head-control users evaluated the software in a real-world setting. One of these five subjects perceived an improvement in comparison to his current head-control system. ..
  39. Thonnard M, Boly M, Bruno M, Chatelle C, Gosseries O, Laureys S, et al. [Neuroimaging technique: a diagnostic tool to detect altered states of consciousness]. Med Sci (Paris). 2011;27:77-81 pubmed publisher
    ..The implementation of these methods in clinical routine could permit to reduce the current high rate of misdiagnosis (40%)...
  40. Shih C, Shih C, Pi P. Using an Extended Automatic Target Acquisition Program with Dual Cursor technology to assist people with developmental disabilities in improving their pointing efficiency. Res Dev Disabil. 2011;32:1506-13 pubmed publisher
    ..With the assistance of DCATAP, participants can significantly improve their pointing performance, and can position targets quickly, easily, and accurately. ..
  41. Freitag C, Herpertz Dahlmann B, Dose M, Lüken M. [Statement on a letter by «Pyramid Educational Consultants Germany UG» of May 2010]. Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother. 2011;39:417-9 pubmed publisher
    ..In the present statement, a letter by the company «Pyramid Educational Consultants of Germany UG» on training and therapeutic aspects of PECS for children with autism is critically reflected. ..
  42. Levac D, Rivard L, Missiuna C. Defining the active ingredients of interactive computer play interventions for children with neuromotor impairments: a scoping review. Res Dev Disabil. 2012;33:214-23 pubmed publisher
    ..Research and clinical practice will benefit from studies that utilize a framework such as motor learning theory to guide hypotheses and measurement of the active ingredients of complex interventions. ..
  43. Calculator S, Black T. Validation of an inventory of best practices in the provision of augmentative and alternative communication services to students with severe disabilities in general education classrooms. Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2009;18:329-42 pubmed publisher
    ..Themes arising in experts' comments related to items in the inventory are discussed. Possible uses of the inventory are discussed along with suggestions for future research. ..
  44. Lancioni G, Singh N, O Reilly M, Sigafoos J, Oliva D, Smaldone A, et al. Promoting mouth-drying responses to reduce drooling effects by persons with intellectual and multiple disabilities: a study of two cases. Res Dev Disabil. 2011;32:477-82 pubmed publisher
    ..Procedure and response conditions and outcome implications are discussed. ..
  45. Pless M, Granlund M. Implementation of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and the ICF Children and Youth Version (ICF-CY) within the context of augmentative and alternative communication. Augment Altern Commun. 2012;28:11-20 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, examples are needed to demonstrate how factors affect implementation at organizational and individual levels. ..
  46. Lerna A, Esposito D, Conson M, Russo L, Massagli A. Social-communicative effects of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) in autism spectrum disorders. Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2012;47:609-17 pubmed publisher
    ..This improvement is especially evident in standardized measures of adaptive behaviour and measures derived from the observation of children in an unstructured setting. ..
  47. Hutchins T, Prelock P. Using communication to reduce challenging behaviors in individuals with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2014;23:41-55 pubmed publisher
    ..Recommendations for practice are offered. ..
  48. Lugo Z, Rodriguez J, Lechner A, Ortner R, Gantner I, Laureys S, et al. A vibrotactile p300-based brain-computer interface for consciousness detection and communication. Clin EEG Neurosci. 2014;45:14-21 pubmed publisher
    ..Furthermore, this approach could be used for the detection of consciousness in non-communicating patients due to severe brain injuries. ..
  49. Ganz J, Lashley E, Rispoli M. Non-responsiveness to intervention: children with autism spectrum disorders who do not rapidly respond to communication interventions. Dev Neurorehabil. 2010;13:399-407 pubmed publisher
  50. Bornman J, Alant E, Du Preez A. Translucency and learnability of Blissymbols in Setswana-speaking children: an exploration. Augment Altern Commun. 2009;25:287-98 pubmed publisher reveal that the translucency ratings of the majority of the selected Blissymbols ranged from moderate to high for all three studies, but that the distribution of symbols across the ratings appears to be different. ..
  51. Sigafoos J, Wermink H, Didden R, Green V, Schlosser R, O Reilly M, et al. Effects of varying lengths of synthetic speech output on augmented requesting and natural speech production in an adolescent with Klinefelter syndrome. Augment Altern Commun. 2011;27:163-71 pubmed publisher
    ..The implications of these findings for using speech-generating devices are discussed. ..
  52. Martin A, Newell C. Living through a computer voice: a personal account. Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2013;38:96-104 pubmed publisher
    ..Based upon the interview, the authors offer an informal set of design requirements and recommendations for the development of future VOCAs. ..
  53. Judge S, Townend G. Perceptions of the design of voice output communication aids. Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2013;48:366-81 pubmed publisher
    ..Based on these data, an initial specification for future device design is proposed. ..