EEG eBike gives cyclists ‘another set of eyes’ on the road

EEG eBike gives cyclists ‘another set of eyes’ on the road

Technology News |
By Rich Pell

With cycling seeing a surge in popularity in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns, say the researchers, the risks of accidents has increased. In response, and to help mitigate these risks, the researchers developed an electroencephalogram (EEG)-supported eBike prototype – called Ena – that monitors electrical activity on the brain corresponding to changes in a rider’s field of view.

Changes to the field of view in peripheral awareness, say the researchers, is often linked with a decrease in the quality of human performance. A study with 20 participants that was conducted as part of this research revealed “various themes and design tactics” suggesting that peripheral awareness as a neurological state is viable to align human-machine integration – such as Ena – with internal bodily processes.

In the case of cyclists, potential scenarios such as a car cutting them off or an obstruction to a bike path are very likely circumstances. The Ena system reads the rider’s field of view via their brain activity. When the rider’s field of view is determined to be broad, meaning the rider is aware of their surroundings, the system offers engine support to go faster. However, if the rider’s field of view narrows as a response to a threat – such as a car veering – the system immediately stops engine support, allowing the rider to go slower while they decide how to respond to the situation.

“The new research shows promising results on how humans can work together with intelligent systems in everyday life to extend their abilities,” says IBM Researcher Josh Andres, who is also a member of the Exertion Games Lab at Monash University and a research fellow at the Wellthlab. “There are several scenarios where technology like this could be beneficial, from increasing safety and response time for emergency personnel to potentially monitoring a patient’s peripheral vision to learn about a condition, right through to being used in sports to help soccer players develop their peripheral vision.”

The new research, say the scientists, is an opportunity to further human-computer interaction experiences in real time, where the rider and the eBike ‘fuse’ together to support each other.

Professor Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, Director of the Exertion Games Lab in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University and co-creator of this technology adds, “Through our research, we’ve been able to align internal bodily processes, such as neural activity, with machine integration. Via Ena, we are able to explore technology that integrates with the human body to amplify the happiness that being physically active offers, while keeping you safer.”

Peripheral awareness, say the researchers, is something that changes without us realizing.

“By actually making these shifts available to people as deliberate feedback on how someone is doing,” says co-creator of the project m.c schraefel, Professor of computer science and human performance and Director of the Wellthlab at the University of Southampton UK, “and then using that feedback to help them respond, especially to stressful situations, we are creating new opportunities not just for innovative interactive systems, but for all of us to build better awareness, and potentially to make better healthier choices.”

For more, see “Introducing Peripheral Awareness as a Neurological State for Human-computer Integration.”

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‘Brainternet’ project makes human brain an IoT node
3D-printed brain-sensing headset is open source
Wireless EEG headset targets consumer apps

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