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Brain computer interface technology: Usability and applications in psychiatry.


Commercially available electroencephalogram devices suitable for brain computer interface research are now widely available for neurofeedback applications.The authors of this study were interested in exploring the usability and acceptance of a commercially available electroencephalogram as a first step in introducing the technology, assessing patient receptivity, and acquiring preliminary clinical outcome data.The study was conducted among active duty military service members referred for psychiatric treatment to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's Psychiatry Continuity Service in Bethesda, MD. The investigators used a commercially available single channel dry electrode electroencephalogram device paired with software programs that focused on promoting mediation and attention. A satisfaction survey was completed at the completion of each session.One hundred and one (101) military patients completed a total of 273 brain computer interface sessions from May 2012 through June 2014. Participants overwhelmingly found the single channel electroencephalogram device easy to use (n=265/271, 97.8%). Following completion of the session participants most frequently reported "more focus" (n=85/271, 31.4%) followed by "more relaxed" (n=71/271, 26.2%), and "a sense of accomplishment" (n=44/271, 16.2%).Based on survey results gleaned from 273 sessions completed during the two year study, brain computer interface using a single channel electroencephalogram was overwhelming rated as user friendly. Over two-thirds of the individual sessions were rated as improving the person's focus, relaxation, or sense of accomplishment.