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Ulster has significantly improved patient outcomes, stimulated the UK neurotechnology sector and promoted knowledge exchange arising from the University’s AI for brain-computer interface (BCI) research. Impacts include:

  • Establishing non-subjective evidence of consciousness in brain-injured patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness with specific beneficial, life-changing outcomes and leading to a national neurotechnology trial with 17 hospitals
  • Influencing two medico-legal High Court cases resulting in substantial compensation for brain-injured victims
  • Enabling a spinal-injured person to compete against other teams from around the world as a Cybathlete at Cybathlon 2016, 2019 (BCI series) and 2020
  • Creation of a spinout company, NeuroCONCISE Ltd (Nov 2016), employing 5 people, to commercialise Ulster BCI research
  • Informing national reports that influenced the establishment of the KTN Neurotechnology Innovation Network and the UK roadmap for neurotechnology
  • Research Context 

    Since 2003 neurotechnology and brain-computer interface (BCI) R&D at Ulster has led to the development of advanced award-winning algorithms, software and hardware for translating brain activity recorded non-invasively (electroencephalography (EEG)) into control signals to enable people to communicate and interact with technology without moving and to assess awareness/consciousness following brain injury. Significant research advances that underpin the impacts are clustered in three main topics:

    • Design of award-winning AI and algorithms to translate brain activity into control signals
    • Design of advanced neurofeedback technologies for disabled users
    • Technology trials with patients
  • Sources To Corroborate 
    • Parliamentary report on Research and Development Work Relating to Assistive Technology 2011 to 2012.
    • Nuffield Council on Bioethics report on Novel Neurotechnology: Intervening in the Brain, 2013. A family involved in Ulster trials is quoted (5.2, p.107).
    • Testimony from the KTN Knowledge Transfer Manager Emerging Technologies who led the establishment of the KTN Neurotechnology Innovation.
    • Testimony from family of patient E; High Court Report [2015] IEHC 752 for patient E.
    • Testimony from family of patient S; testimony from legal team of patient S following successful High Court case.
    • Awards certificates: International BCI Research award competition 2015 Top 10 nomination certificate; IEEE Computational Intellig. Soc. Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, 2008; International Neural Network Society Young Investigator of the Year Award, 2011; IET Innovation awards best start-up category winner 2018; IET and E&T Innovation of the Year Award 2018.
    • Testimony from clinical partners at the National Rehabilitation Hospital.
    • Testimony of patient O who competed at the Cybathlon competition 2016, 2019 and 2020.
    • Testimony from organisers of the Cybathlon 2016, 2019 and 2020.
    • NeuroCONCISE company; NeuroCONCISE investment profile; NeuroCONCISE Overview and Product brochure; NeuroCONCISE Management accounts to 31 Dec 2020
  • Dissemination Activities