Many studies over the past two decades have shown that people and animals can use brain signals to convey their intent to a computer using brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). BCI systems measure specific features of brain activity and translate them into control signals that drive an output. The sensor modalities that have most commonly been used in BCI studies have been electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings from the scalp and single-neuron recordings from within the cortex. Over the past decade, an increasing number of studies has explored the use of electrocorticographic (ECoG) activity recorded directly from the surface of the brain. ECoG has attracted substantial and increasing interest, because it has been shown to reflect specific details of actual and imagined actions, and because its technical characteristics should readily support robust and chronic implementations of BCI systems in humans. This review provides general perspectives on the ECoG platform; describes the different electrophysiological features that can be detected in ECoG; elaborates on the signal acquisition issues, protocols, and online performance of ECoG-based BCI studies to date; presents important limitations of current ECoG studies; discusses opportunities for further research; and finally presents a vision for eventual clinical implementation. In summary, the studies presented to date strongly encourage further research using the ECoG platform for basic neuroscientific research, as well as for translational neuroprosthetic applications.
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