Alpha wave reactivity following eye closure: a potential method of remote hands free control for the disabled

Ashley Craig*, Paul McIsaac, Yvonne Tran, Les Kirkup, Andrew Searle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Recent research by the authors has investigated alpha wave amplitude increases in response to reduced visual input as a system for controlling electrical devices, with application for the disabled. However, alpha wave changes contingent with visual input is pearly understood. Further research was conducted on this phenomenon in order to optimize our ability to harness it as a control device. Study Design. To address this lack, alpha wave reactivity was studied in 21 non-disabled and 16 neurologically disabled (spinal cord injured; SCI) persons in laboratory conditions. Results. Large increases in alpha wave reactivity occurred in the 8-12 Hz range in posterior, central and anterior regions of the brain for both groups. There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of alpha wave increases in amplitude following eye closure (EC) in the posterior cortex. Not all subjects showed similar increases in all cortical areas. No significant differences in alpha wave amplitude increases following EC were found for sex, age, handedness or hemisphere. However, in the non disabled group, substantial negative associations occurred of body mass index with all cortical sites, while mild but consistent positive associations were found for diastolic brood pressure. Conclusion. SCI persons have sufficient amounts of alpha wave reactivity contingent with eye closure to operate a hands free control device. The information from this research will be used to optimize technology being designed to activate, quickly and remotely, electrical devices using brain signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-194
Number of pages8
JournalTechnology and Disability
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpha waves
  • Disability
  • EEG
  • Hands-free control

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