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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 9 (2012), Issue 2, Pages 125-133

A Review of fMRI as a Tool for Enhancing Eeg-Based Brain-Machine Interfaces

Luis J. Barrios, Maria D. del Castillo, José I. Serrano, and José L. Pons

Bioengineering Group, CAR. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Arganda del Rey, Spain

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human-robot interaction has been going stronger and stronger, up to find a notorious level on brain-machines interfaces. This assistive technology offers a great hope for patients suffering severe neuromuscular disorders. Starting from the current limitations hindering its extensive application outside the research laboratories, this paper reviews findings and prospects on functional magnetic resonance imaging showing how fMRI can help to overcome those limitations, while playing a key role on improving the development of brain-machine interfaces based on electroencephalography. The different types of derived benefits for this interfaces, as well as the different kinds of impact on their components, are presented under a field classification that reveals the distinctive roles that fMRI can play on the present context. The review concludes that fMRI provides complementary knowledge of immediate application, and that a greater profit could be obtained from the own EEG signal by integrating both neuroimaging modalities.