Contribution to the study of the use of brain-computer interfaces in virtual and augmented reality

Abstract : The objective of this PhD thesis is to study the use of Brain- Computer Interfaces (BCIs) within Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Our goal is to evaluate the compatibility between systems based on a BCI and VR/AR, to design new tools for the visualization of the brain activity based on VR/AR, and finally to propose new uses for the BCIs, and especially in combination with smart clothes. In order to fulfil these objectives, we have first designed and performed a feasibility study concerning the combination of a BCI and VR. Our objective was to study the influence of motor activity on a BCI. We have designed a system similar to a video game, serving as a base for a user study showing that this BCI can be successfully used, even when participants are performing a demanding muscular activity. We have also proposed three visualization tools for the brain activity based on VR/AR. Our first system called the «Mind- Mirror» which enables the visualization of our own brain activity «inside our own head» by superimposition. A user study has shown that no significant drop in BCI performance occurred, even with the additional complexity due to our AR-based display. Our second contribution is called «Mind- Window» and extends the Mind-Mirror’s possibilities by enabling one or multiple users to visualize the brain activity of another person as if her skull was transparent. Our last contribution is called «Mind-Inside» and allows users to visualize their brain activity in real-time while being immersed in a virtual brain. Finally, we have studied how BCIs and the VR/AR can be applied to smart clothes. We have designed an experimental platform comprising a dressing room integrating a BCI. Following this work, we proposed an «invisibility cloak» inspired by the Harry Potter universe. This virtual cloak allows users to camouflage themselves in AR using their mental state. Results from a preliminary study based on a simple videogame inspired by the Harry Potter universe could notably show that, compared to a standard control made with a keyboard, controlling the optical camouflage directly with the BCI could enhance the user experience and the feeling of «having a super-power».
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Jonathan Mercier. Contribution to the study of the use of brain-computer interfaces in virtual and augmented reality. Graphics [cs.GR]. INSA de Rennes, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ISAR0018⟩. ⟨tel-01276404⟩

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