Wanted: BCI mouse clicker

Hello, my name is Ken Brooks and I’m a professional software engineer. Nearly 30 years ago, before the ergonomics were well studied, I injured my hands due to excessive use of the keyboard, and they have been a limiting factor in my work ever since.

I program mostly using LabVIEW, which requires a lot more mousing than typing. For years I used my feet to click a trackball button on the floor, while using my hand to glide the mouse without clicking it, which is not strenuous. But at last some little ligament in my knees has rebelled against this unnatural and very repetitive movement. I need to find another click method. And so I turn to BCI, with bright hope.

All I need is ONE LITTLE BINARY BIT! Or preferably two, for left-click and right-click. But it needs to be doable hundreds of times per day without undue strain, and it needs to not be too readily triggered unintentionally while I’m pondering my work. And it needs to be usable alongside of an ordinary mouse, which I will use from time to time.

I already have an interface; I can plug in any on/off switch and get it to function as my mouse button. I am prepared to do some programming; I am prepared to do some further interfacing; I am prepared to spend some effort to train both myself and my device. But I’m looking for advice: would any of the off-the-shelf devices out there such as NeuroSky or Muse 2 be likely to serve my need? Has anyone done anything like this already?

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Ken, hi. Have you considered EMG (electromyography), instead of EEG, BCI? With a small EMG sensor, you could attach it to any muscle group that you can control with low stress. Perhaps such as jaw, eyebrow, etc. Regards, William

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In terms of actual BCI paradigms, a good candidate might be SSVEP, steady state visual evoked potentials. This could be done with an Arduino or other microcontroller flashing an LED at a given frequency, say 10 Hz. The LED could be positioned above or below your monitor screen. When you stare directly at the LED, the EEG in the occipital area will show the LED flashing frequency.


You could actually have two LEDs, each flashing at different rates, say 10 Hz and 15 Hz. This would give you left and right click. They need to be spatially separated somewhat.

Also when amplitude modulating the LED intensity, square wave is commonly used. But a sine wave modulation may give fewer harmonics.

Hey Ken!

My team at Petal Technology has built software for Muse and OpenBCI that I think would be perfect to help you out.

We’ve mapped EEG and EMG gestures to key presses and mouse clicks.

We have options for eye winks and eyebrow movements, facial twitches and more along with a robust artifact rejection algorithm so that normal activity while thinking/problem solving won’t create false positives.

It has worked for us in the past without training but we do have training software as well if we need to address accuracy (currently it’s at 98%).

What programming language do you favor?
Can we set up some time to chat? I really think we’d be able to help you out! :smiley:

Dan Schmitz


Hi Ken,
Is this still a need you are looking to solve? I can help you set it up and get you programming again. The only thing you’d need to purchase is a Muse headset and a USB dongle (we can recommend one that’s worked well for us). The rest is pretty much plug and play!


Thanks, wjcroft, but flashing tends to drive me crazy! When there is an ad on my screen that involves flashing, I have to cover it, otherwise it is just annoying beyond description! Do you suppose there is any way to use the LED concept (which I like) apart from that?

SSVEP flash rate can be any rate you choose, as frequency goes higher it becomes less obtrusive. Range is probably between 10 Hz and 30 Hz.

re: your best bet with the mouse clicker

Would be the EMG idea I mentioned previously. Dan from Petal Tech would seem to have a good match for you.

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Using an off-the-shelf BCI headset, we can help you click with eyebrow movements or other facial movements. It’s fast, precise, and smart enough to recognize the difference between when you’re thinking and intentionally performing gestures.

Additionally, you can train any movement and then map that movement to any key press or mouse click. So, it’s up to you whether you’d want to wink or move your eyebrows to click.

If anyone else is looking for a solution for a BCI mouse clicker, let me know, I’d be happy to set you up!

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