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Nov 18, 2007

Virtual reality hardware and graphic display options for brain-machine interfaces

Virtual reality hardware and graphic display options for brain-machine interfaces.

J Neurosci Methods. 2007 Sep 29;

Authors: Marathe AR, Carey HL, Taylor DM

Virtual reality hardware and graphic displays are reviewed here as a development environment for brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). Two desktop stereoscopic monitors and one 2D monitor were compared in a visual depth discrimination task and in a 3D target-matching task where able-bodied individuals used actual hand movements to match a virtual hand to different target hands. Three graphic representations of the hand were compared: a plain sphere, a sphere attached to the fingertip of a realistic hand and arm, and a stylized pacman-like hand. Several subjects had great difficulty using either stereo monitor for depth perception when perspective size cues were removed. A mismatch in stereo and size cues generated inappropriate depth illusions. This phenomenon has implications for choosing target and virtual hand sizes in BMI experiments. Target-matching accuracy was about as good with the 2D monitor as with either 3D monitor. However, users achieved this accuracy by exploring the boundaries of the hand in the target with carefully controlled movements. This method of determining relative depth may not be possible in BMI experiments if movement control is more limited. Intuitive depth cues, such as including a virtual arm, can significantly improve depth perception accuracy with or without stereo viewing.

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