Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Date of this Version



Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2018 Aug; 27(3): 950–964.

Published online 2018 Aug 6. doi: 10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0135

PMCID: PMC6195025

PMID: 29860376


Copyright © 2018 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Used by permission.


Purpose--Brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) can provide access to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices using neurological activity alone without voluntary movements. As with traditional AAC access methods, BCI performance may be influenced by the cognitive–sensory–motor and motor imagery profiles of those who use these devices. Therefore, we propose a person-centered, feature matching framework consistent with clinical AAC best practices to ensure selection of the most appropriate BCI technology to meet individuals' communication needs.

Method--The proposed feature matching procedure is based on the current state of the art in BCI technology and published reports on cognitive, sensory, motor, and motor imagery factors important for successful operation of BCI devices.

Results--Considerations for successful selection of BCI for accessing AAC are summarized based on interpretation from a multidisciplinary team with experience in AAC, BCI, neuromotor disorders, and cognitive assessment. The set of features that support each BCI option are discussed in a hypothetical case format to model possible transition of BCI research from the laboratory into clinical AAC applications.

Conclusions--This procedure is an initial step toward consideration of feature matching assessment for the full range of BCI devices. Future investigations are needed to fully examine how person-centered factors influence BCI performance across devices.