Research in the lab will focus on the new field of ‘brain computer interfacing’, explains the project leader Jan-Willem van ’t Klooster. ‘This includes measuring mental effort for certain tasks, so that we hopefully adapt computer programs according to the experienced workload. That means that your computer would think along with you when the tasks at hand become too stressful.’
Novel techniques, such as portable EEG and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), will be used to detect people’s workload and to determine how tasks could be changed to become easier or less stressful. Measurements will begin in September and will be based on real cases provided by companies involved in the project: Thales Nederland, Noldus Information Technology and VidiNexus. ‘We will test programs and systems that companies already use but that are adaptable,’ says Van ’t Klooster. ‘For example, we will use a system for operating navy ships and measure in a control room scenario. Operating software for command and control will be adapted based on perceived stress levels in multiple operators.’
The BCI testing facility represents the first large European funded project for the BMS Lab, receiving 1.5 million euros from OP Oost. ‘The BMS Lab is the perfect place for this type of research,’ says Jan-Willem van ’t Klooster. ‘Because it combines human behavior and technology.’ The project is scheduled to run until the end of 2021.