From classic motor imagery to complex movement intention decoding: The noninvasive Graz-BCI approach

Gernot Müller-Putz, Andreas Schwarz, Joana Pereira, Patrick Ofner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we give an overview of the Graz-BCI research, from the classic motor imagery detection to complex movement intentions decoding. We start by describing the classic motor imagery approach, its application in tetraplegic end users, and the significant improvements achieved using coadaptive brain–computer interfaces (BCIs). These strategies have the drawback of not mirroring the way one plans a movement. To achieve a more natural control—and to reduce the training time—the movements decoded by the BCI need to be closely related to the user's intention. Within this natural control, we focus on the kinematic level, where movement direction and hand position or velocity can be decoded from noninvasive recordings. First, we review movement execution decoding studies, where we describe the decoding algorithms, their performance, and associated features. Second, we describe the major findings in movement imagination decoding, where we emphasize the importance of estimating the sources of the discriminative features. Third, we introduce movement target decoding, which could allow the determination of the target without knowing the exact movement-by-movement details. Aside from the kinematic level, we also address the goal level, which contains relevant information on the upcoming action. Focusing on hand–object interaction and action context dependency, we discuss the possible impact of some recent neurophysiological findings in the future of BCI control. Ideally, the goal and the kinematic decoding would allow an appropriate matching of the BCI to the end users’ needs, overcoming the limitations of the classic motor imagery approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Brain Research
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2016

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology


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