CS Other Presentations

Department of Computer Science - University of Cyprus

Besides Colloquiums, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Cyprus also holds Other Presentations (Research Seminars, PhD Defenses, Short Term Courses, Demonstrations, etc.). These presentations are given by scientists who aim to present preliminary results of their research work and/or other technical material. Other Presentations serve as a forum for educating Computer Science students and related announcements are disseminated to the Department of Computer Science (i.e., the csall list):
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Presentations Coordinator: Demetris Zeinalipour

PhD Defense: Virtual Reality Gaming based on Brain-Computer Interfacing and the Role of Cognitive Skills, Mr. Marios Hadjiaros (University of Cyprus, Cyprus), Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 09.00-10.00 EET.

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Cyprus cordially invites you to the PhD Defense entitled:

Virtual Reality Gaming based on Brain-Computer Interfacing and the Role of Cognitive Skills

Speaker: Mr. Marios Hadjiaros
Affiliation: University of Cyprus, Cyprus
Category: PhD Defense
Location: Room 148, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences (FST-01), 1 University Avenue, 2109 Nicosia, Cyprus (directions)
Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2024
Time: 09.00-10.00 EET
Host: Dr. Andreas Aristidou <andarist-AT-ucy.ac.cy
URL: https://www.cs.ucy.ac.cy/colloquium/presentations.php?speaker=cs.ucy.pres.2024.hadjiaros

Electroencephalography (EEG) sensors record the electrical activity of the brain, which can be decoded and processed to understand the physical and psychological state of individuals to improve the quality of life in both healthy and clinical populations. EEG signals are used in two ways: as neurofeedback to medical personnel, and to control external devices or applications, such as controlling an exoskeleton or a computer cursor. Extensive research has been conducted in the field of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), with a notable focus on Motor Imagery (MI) in recent years. Despite significant advancements in algorithmic development, the accuracy rates of these systems persistently lag behind expectations. This discrepancy underscores a notable gap in the literature, wherein insufficient attention has been directed toward elucidating the cognitive mechanisms that underpin effective mental imagery. Hence, there is a clear need for further studies aimed at discerning the cognitive processes associated with enhanced MI performance, thereby addressing this critical shortfall in current research. Brain-computer interface (BCI) systems combined with virtual reality (VR) gaming have the potential to revolutionize human-computer interaction by providing immersive and intuitive control mechanisms. This study aimed to evaluate the performance of BCI-VR in a goalkeeper gaming task and explore the influence of cognitive abilities on BCI performance. This Thesis explores the most popular approaches and best practices for designing and implementing cognitive gaming interventions that combine Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) systems with Virtual Reality (VR). It focuses on interventions that target cognitive skills related to executive control, visual working memory (VWM), spatial orientation, and mental body rotation. To this purpose, the techniques and algorithms that are commonly used for data pre-processing, feature extraction, and classification in such interventions were reviewed. Issues related to BCI-VR Cognitive Gaming were discussed, including the BCI paradigms, the action tasks and environments, user characteristics, algorithms, channels, accuracy, and the most prominent findings. Furthermore, the current challenges, limitations, future research directions, and potential commercial applications of BCI-VR in cognitive gaming were investigated. After an extensive literature search, experimental sessions were conducted with forty-four healthy volunteers. All participants carried out a BCI-VR Goalkeeper task and underwent a left-hand versus right-hand movement imagery task while wearing a VR headset. Twenty-two participants carried out the Flanker task and the Spatial Cueing task and another twenty-two participants carried out the Mental Body Rotation (MBRT) and Spatial Orientation (SOT) tasks. Six classification algorithms were employed for offline and real-time analysis. The Random Forest algorithm exhibited the highest accuracy rates both offline and in real-time. Results from the Flanker task revealed a positive correlation between the mean accuracy for the congruent trials of the Flanker task and the mean offline classification accuracy in the BCI-VR Goalkeeper task. Additionally, High Achievers in the BCI-VR Goalkeeper task had larger benefits from attentional cues in service of perception than from attentional cues in service of VWM. These findings suggest the impact of cognitive abilities on BCI-VR performance and emphasize the need to consider cognitive mechanisms and develop cognitive training interventions to enhance humans to produce appropriate EEG patterns while improving BCI accuracy. Further research should explore other cognitive factors and strive to improve the usability and effectiveness of BCI-VR systems for real-world applications. Overall, the current findings contribute to advancing BCI technology and its potential for neurorehabilitation, assistive technologies, and gaming entertainment.

Short Bio:
Marios Hadjiaros is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Cyprus under the supervision of Prof. Constantinos Pattichis. Since 2018, he has been a Research Associate with the CYENS - Centre of Excellence as a member of the HealthXR Smart, Ubiquitous, and Participatory Technologies for Healthcare Innovation Group. His research interests include the development of interactive systems, mainly for use in healthcare with the use of emerging and other technologies, such as Virtual Reality (VR), Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) based on EEG, Serious Games, and Cognition. He holds both B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Cyprus.

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