Action Games, Motor Imagery, and Control Strategies: Toward a Multi-button Controller

Damien Coyle, Jacqueline Stow, Karl McCreadie, Chen Li, Jhonatan Garcia, Jacinta McElligott, Aine Carroll

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


Motor imagery is a skill that can be learned to maximize the accuracy of sensorimotor rhythm (SMR)-based brain-computer game interaction (BCGI). Strategies for learning to intentionally modulate sensorimotor cortex activity have been developed, using computer games as a training paradigm and gameplay characteristics to motivate and challenge players. These range from one-dimensional movement of a game object to single-button or multi-button BCGI controllers. This chapter overviews SMR-based BCGI focusing on a number of studies to illustrate the key concepts, principles, and methodologies. Examples drawn from the action genre, the most popular BCI game genre, with progressive difficulty and challenges, are presented, including a classic ball-basket game, a spaceship game involving asteroid avoidance, and a platform-based combat-fighter game. A focus is on elucidating the prospects and challenges for BCGI. Preliminary results from a proof-of-concept study of a BCGI multi-button controller referred to as the “CircleTime” controller are presented. The CircleTime controller offers the user the option of selecting between six separate buttons using just two motor imagery tasks. Results involving five able-bodied and seven physically impaired users are presented to provide evidence that the games are accessible even without motor control and the typical levels of control accuracy given the length of time played. The CircleTime controller is tested within combat-fighter game which requires higher cognitive processes to determine commands and select actions as well as completion of short-term and longer-term time-critical actions. The chapter covers basic SMR-based BCI signal processing and performance assessment, progressive learning across games, and camouflaging prolonged training.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Digital Games and Entertainment Technologies
Place of PublicationSingapore
ISBN (Print)978-981-4560-52-8
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2015


  • Brain-computer interface
  • electroencephalography (EEG)
  • BCI
  • Sensorimotor
  • Games Controller Motor imagery
  • Action games
  • Game genre


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