MAIA aims at developing a brain-computer interface which recognizes the subject’s voluntary intent to do primitive motor actions on the order of milliseconds and conveys this intention to a robot that implements the necessary low-level details for achieving complex tasks. To achieve this objective, we will take a radical departure from current assumptions and approaches in BCI. In particular, we will follow five innovative principles: (1) recognition of the subject’s motor intent from the analysis of high resolution brain maps, which estimates intracranial potentials from scalp EEG; (2) adaptive shared autonomy between two intelligent agents (the human user and the robot) so that the user only gives high-level mental commands that the robot performs autonomously; (3) use of haptic feedback to the user to accelerate training and facilitate accurate control; (4) recognition of brain events associated to high-level cognitive states, such as error recognition and alarm, to increase the reliability of the brain-actuated robots; (5) on-line adaptation of the interface to the user to keep the BCI constantly tuned to its owner.

These principles will be demonstrated in three applications, which will be used to measure the S&T objectives. The three demonstrations are: – driving a wheelchair in an indoor environment; – controlling a robot arm for reaching and manipulation tasks; – handling emergency situations after recognizing the subject’s alarm state (e.g., braking the vehicle or retracting the robot arm).

MAIA ran from September 2004 to December 2007 and was coordinated by Prof. José del R. Millán, then at the Idiap Research Institute, in cooperation with:

News- Media Coverage

  • MAIA featured at the European Future Technologies Conference – FET09 (21.04.2008)
  • Mind over body: new hope for quadriplegics (ICT Results, 10.04.2008)
  • Un investigador onubense trabaja en la creación de la silla de ruedas inteligente(Cibersur 14.12.2007)
  • Une chaise roulante intelligente, qui se guide par les pensées de son passager  (Le Temps, 15.05.2007)
  • EU project develops intelligent wheelchair ( CORDIS News, 24.04.2007)
  • La K.U.Leuven développe une chaise roulante “intelligente”  (, 04.2007)
  • Des Cyborgs et des Hommes (Nouvo, TSR2, 15.02.2007)
  • Rehabilitation Robots. Robots which respond to instructions from the brain, robots designed specifically to assist the handicapped, robots capable of communicating emotion. European researchers are developing a generation of robots designed for medical use. (EuroNews/Futuris)
  • Liikkuu ajatusten voimalla (EuroopanTiede ja Teknologia, edition 5, pp. 16-17; 2006)
  • L’IDIAP donne des bras a la pensée (AGEFI, 04.12.2006)
  • L’homme pense, la machine obéit (Le Matin Bleu, 04.12.2006)
  • L’ordinateur dirigé par la pensée (20 Minutes, 04.12.2006)
  • La pensée aux commandes (La Liberté, 04.12.2006)
  • La pensée aux commandes (Le Courrier, 04.12.2006)
  • Des valaisans commandent des machines par la pensée (Le Quotidien Jurassien, 04.12.2006)
  • Le jour où l’homme commandera les machines par la pensée (L’Express, 04.12.2006)
  • Le jour où l’homme commandera les machines par la pensée (L’Impartial, 04.12.2006)
  • Commander les machines par la pensée (ATS / Agence Télégraphique Suisse SA, 04.12.2006)
  • Man-machine: new means of communication (RTD info N0 51, 12.2006)
  • Cervello: Cuffia Leggi-Pensiero Rida’ Autonomia Disabili (, 11.11.2006)
  • Le nuove frontiere della neurotecnologia (TG1, RAI1, 10.11.2006)
  • Una cuffia leggi-pensieri rida mobilita ai disabili (Gazetta del Sud, 10.11.2006)
  • Cuffia Leggi-Pensiero rida’ autonomia ai disabili (ANSA.IT, 09.11.2006)
  • Progetto Europeo MAIA (TG LAZIO, TELELAZIO, 09.11.2006)
  • Cuffia per Disabili (TG2, RAI2, 9.11.2006)
  • MAIA featured in the EU DG INFSO Video Brochure (Information Society and Media Directorate-General, 10.2006)
  • Des machines dirigées par la pensée (Entreprise Romande, p. 2, 28.09.2006)
  • Allons-nous encore évoluer? (Eureka, 7-8-9.2006)
  • MAIA project introduced to a panel of experts for the National Science Foundation (USA). On Wednesday May 31st 2006, the MAIA project was presented in the framework of the International Assessment of Brain-Computer Interface Research study supported by the National Science Foundation (USA) for evaluation of international Brain Computer Interface technology. The keys findings of the study will be presented at the National Science Foundation held in Arlington, Virginia (21.07.2006)
  • Presentation of MAIA on May 10 in the “On-line Adaptive Brain-Computer Interface” talk (Press Tour Finland, 10-13.05.2006)
  • Rapid progress for brain-computer interface development (ProAcademica, News from the Academy of Finland 2/2005, pp. 10-13, 11.2005)
  • About BCI research in national radio (YLE Radio 1, Reseptori/Terveydeksi-program, 27.6.2005)
  • Aivoimpulssit ohjaavat tietokoneen avulla kättä / Hand is controlled with brain signals with help of computer (IT Invalidityö -lehti, 06/2005)
  • Online BCI shown in Finnish national television (YLE TV1, Prisma Studio-program, 06.04.2005)
  • Un científico español logra mover objetos a distancia con un sistema de control mental (El Pais, 09.02.2005)
  • Robots: This wheelchair runs on brainwaves (BusinessWeek, 15.11.2004)
  • Dr. José del R. Millán named Research Leader in robotics 2004, for achieving progress toward a mind-controlled wheelchair.
    Scientific American’s prestigious annual list recognizes science and technology contributions from many fields (Scientific American, 11.11.2004)

F. Cincotti; D. Mattia; F. Aloise; S. Bufalari; L. Astolfi et al. : High-Resolution EEG Techniques for Brain-Computer Interface Applications; Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2007. DOI : 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2007.06.031.
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Conference Papers

P. W. Ferrez; J. d. R. Millán : Simultaneous Real-Time Detection of Motor Imagery and Error-Related Potentials for Improved BCI Accuracy. 2008. 4th International Brain-Computer Interface Workshop and Training Course, Graz, Austria, 2008. p. 197-202.
Detailed recordFull text



F. Cincotti, L. Kauhanen,F. Aloise, T. Palomäki, N. Caporusso, P. Jylänki, D. Mattia, F. Babiloni, G. Vanacker, M. Nuttin, M. Grazia Marciani, J. d. R. Millán: Vibrotactile feedback for brain-computer interface operation. (2007) Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience, 2007, Article ID 48937.
Full text

G. Vanacker, J.d.R. Millán, E. Lew, P.W. Ferrez, F. Galán, J. Philips, H. Van Brussel, M. Nuttin M. (2007). Context-based filtering for assisted brain-actuated wheelchair driving. Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience, 2007, Article ID 25130.
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Conference Papers

P.W. Ferrez , J.d.R. Millán: EEG-based brain-computer interaction: Improved accuracy by automatic single-trial error detection. (2007) Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems, NIPS 20. Vancouver, Canada.
Abstract, Pdf

R. Chavarriaga, P.W. Ferrez , J.d.R. Millán: To err is human: Learning from error potentials in brain-computer interfaces. (2007) 1st Int. Conf. Cognitive Neurodynamics. Shanghai, China.
Abstract, Pdf

F. Galán, P.W. Ferrez, F. Oliva, J. Guàrdia, J.d.R. Millán: Feature extraction for multi-class BCI using canonical variates analysis. (2007)IEEE Int. Symp. Intelligent Signal Processing. Alcalá de Henares, Spain.

J. Philips, J.d.R. Millán, G. Vanacker, E. Lew, F. Galán, P.W. Ferrez, H. Van Brussel, M. Nuttin:  Adaptive shared control of a brain-actuated simulated wheelchair. (2007) 10th IEEE Int. Conf. Rehabilitation Robotics. Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
Abstract, Pdf



A. Buttfield A., P.W. Ferrez, J.d.R. Millán:  Towards a robust BCI: Error recognition and online learning. (2006) IEEE Trans. Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 14(2):164–168.
Abstract, Pdf

S.L. Gonzalez Andino, R. Grave de Peralta, G. Thut, J.d.R. Millán, P. Morier, T. Landis: Very high frequency oscillations (VHFO) as a predictor of movement intentions. (2006) NeuroImage, 32(1):170–179.
Abstract, Pdf



R. Grave de Peralta, S.L. Gonzalez Andino, L. Perez, P.W. Ferrez, J.d.R Millán: Non-invasive estimation of local field potentials for neuroprosthesis control. (2005) Cognitive Processing, 6(1):59–64.Abstract, Pdf

Conference Papers

P.W. Ferrez, J.d.R Millán: You are wrong!—Automatic detection of interaction errors from brain waves. (2005) 19th Int. Joint Conf. Artificial Intelligence. Edinburgh, UK.Abstract, Pdf


Conference Papers

J.d.R Millán. (2004). On the need for on-line learning in brain-computer interfaces. (2005) Joint Conf. Neural Networks. Budapest, Hungary.Abstract, Pdf