Expanding the (kaleido)scope: exploring current literature trends for translating electroencephalography (EEG) based brain-computer interfaces for motor rehabilitation in children

J Neural Eng. 2016 Dec;13(6):061002. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/13/6/061002. Epub 2016 Oct 20.


Rehabilitation applications using brain-computer interfaces (BCI) have recently shown encouraging results for motor recovery. Effective BCI neurorehabilitation has been shown to exploit neuroplastic properties of the brain through mental imagery tasks. However, these applications and results are currently restricted to adults. A systematic search reveals there is essentially no literature describing motor rehabilitative BCI applications that use electroencephalograms (EEG) in children, despite advances in such applications with adults. Further inspection highlights limited literature pursuing research in the field, especially outside of neurofeedback paradigms. Then the question naturally arises, do current literature trends indicate that EEG based BCI motor rehabilitation applications could be translated to children? To provide further evidence beyond the available literature for this particular topic, we present an exploratory survey examining some of the indirect literature related to motor rehabilitation BCI in children. Our goal is to establish if evidence in the related literature supports research on this topic and if the related studies can help explain the dearth of current research in this area. The investigation found positive literature trends in the indirect studies which support translating these BCI applications to children and provide insight into potential pitfalls perhaps responsible for the limited literature. Careful consideration of these pitfalls in conjunction with support from the literature emphasize that fully realized motor rehabilitation BCI applications for children are feasible and would be beneficial. • BCI intervention has improved motor recovery in adult patients and offer supplementary rehabilitation options to patients. • A systematic literature search revealed that essentially no research has been conducted bringing motor rehabilitation BCI applications to children, despite advances in BCI. • Indirect studies discovered from the systematic literature search, i.e. neurorehabilitation in children via BCI for autism spectrum disorder, provide insight into translating motor rehabilitation BCI applications to children. • Translating BCI applications to children is a relevant, important area of research which is relatively barren.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces / trends*
  • Child
  • Communication Aids for Disabled
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Electroencephalography / trends*
  • Humans
  • Neural Prostheses
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Rehabilitation / methods*