Switching rate changes associated with mental fatigue for assistive technologies

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Conference Proceeding
33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2011, pp. 3071 - 3074
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This paper presents research that investigated the effects of mental fatigue on brain activity associated with eyes open and eyes closed conditions. The changes associated with electroencephalography (EEG) alpha wave activity (8-13Hz) during eye closure has previously been shown to be an effective strategy for switching and activating devices as an environmental control system (ECS) designed for people with severe disability like spinal cord injury (SCI). The results showed that switching times did increase due to fatigue, however, these increases were not large (around 1 second longer to switch) and this difference was not significant. When baselines were readjusted taking into account the change in alpha wave activity due to the fatigue, switching reduced to times typically seen when the person was alert. Error rates were similar between the alert and fatigue sates. Implications of these results for a hands-free ECS are discussed.
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