Hearing the needs of clinical users

Andrea Kübler*, Femke Nijboer, Sonja Kleih

*Corresponding author for this work

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

19 Citations (Scopus)


In the past 10 years, brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) for controlling assistive devices have seen tremendous progress with respect to reliability and learnability, and numerous exemplary applications were demonstrated to be controllable by a BCI. Yet, BCI-controlled applications are hardly used for patients with neurologic or neurodegenerative disease. Such patient groups are considered potential end-users of BCI, specifically for replacing or improving lost function. We argue that BCI research and development still faces a translational gap, i.e., the knowledge of how to bring BCIs from the laboratory to the field is insufficient. BCI-controlled applications lack usability and accessibility; both constitute two sides of one coin, which is the key to use in daily life and to prevent nonuse. To increase usability, we suggest rigorously adopting the user-centered design in applied BCI research and development. To provide accessibility, assistive technology (AT) experts, providers, and other stakeholders have to be included in the user-centered process. BCI experts have to ensure the transfer of knowledge to AT professionals, and listen to the needs of primary, secondary, and tertiary end-users of BCI technology. Addressing both, usability and accessibility, in applied BCI research and development will bridge the translational gap and ensure that the needs of clinical end-users are heard, understood, addressed, and fulfilled.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrain-Computer Interfaces
EditorsNick F. Ramsey, José del R. Millán
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-0-444-63934-9
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752
ISSN (Electronic)2212-4152


  • Accessibility
  • Assistive technology
  • End-users
  • Stakeholders
  • Translation
  • Translational gap
  • Usability
  • User-centered design
  • NLA


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