Deutsch Intern
    Department of Psychology I - Intervention Psychology

    Brain painting

    Brain painting

    Brain Painting: Painting just by thinking!

    Brain Painting ( is a research project aiming at assisting paralysed people in “locked-in” state who, due to neurodegenerative diseases like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), are severely restricted in communication with their environment. With Brain Painting, they can finally express their emotions, creatively communicate and finally be perceived by their environment as communicating personalities.

    The Brain Painting software uses brain activity as a control signal for a painting application with a non-invasive connection between brain and computer, a so called “brain-computer interface (BCI)”. The BCI enables a communication and control without any muscular pathways.

    Simplified model of Brain Painting system. Images from Cap (EasyCap) andAmplifier (gGammaBox and gUSBAmp) modified from



    To enable the brain to control, the user is wearing an EEG (electroencephalography)-cap with electrodes that are connected to an amplifier, and painting items flash in column and rows in the so called “P300-Matrix” (Figure 2). The P300 is a positive deflection in the electric activity of the brain that occurs when the user focuses on an infrequent stimulus (odd) that occurs in a sequence of frequent stimuli. By selecting a painting colour on the P300-matrix, the user “prints” the painting on a second monitor, the “digital painting canvas”.

    Fig.2: New Brain Painting P300-matrix

    The research project Brain Painting was started in the mid-2000ies by Andrea Kübler[[1]] (University of Würzburg, Institute of Psychology in Germany) and enhanced since 2012 with her team[[2]][[3]][[4]][[5]] within a European research project ("BackHome" (FP7-ICT-288566)). The focus of this further Brain Painting is to optimise the software an independent use at home.

    Since then, two locked-in ALS-diagnosed artists are using Brain Painting on a regular weekly basis and independently at home. Not only their quality of life is tremendously increased, but also their self-esteem enhanced. Brain Painting is a revolution for such injured people, just as one of them says: “Brain Painting is like Sunday breakfast for the soul” (Heide Pfützner – artist name)!

    Heide Pfützner, ©HHEM, already exposes for the 1st time her paintings in Germany at the VR-Bank FORUM in Würzburg – Marktplatz 2 Mo-Fr 9 am – 5 pm. (Free entry).

    Find more information on Brain Painting under:

    [1] Münßinger, Jana I.; Halder, Sebastian; Kleih, Sonja C.; Furdea, Adrian; Raco, Valerio; Hösle, Adi; Kübler, Andrea. "Brain Painting: First Evaluation of a New Brain–Computer Interface Application with ALS-Patients and Healthy Volunteers". Frontiers in Neuroscience 4. doi:10.3389/fnins.2010.00182.

    [2] Fazel-Rezai, Reza; Allison, Brendan Z.; Guger, Christoph; Sellers, Eric W.; Kleih, Sonja C.; Kübler, Andrea. "P300 brain computer interface: current challenges and emerging trends". Frontiers in Neuroengineering 5. doi:10.3389/fneng.2012.00014.

    [3] Kübler, Andrea; Holz, Elisa M.; Kaufmann, Tobias; Zickler, Claudia (2013). "A User Centred Approach for Bringing BCI Controlled Applications to End-Users". Brain-Computer Interface Systems - Recent Progress and Future Prospects (Dr. Reza Fazel-Rezai (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-1134-4, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/55802. Available from: ed.). InTech. ISBN 978-953-51-1134-4.

    [4] Zickler, Claudia; Halder, Sebastian; Kleih, Sonja C.; Herbert, Cornelia; Kübler, Andrea (2013). "Brain Painting: Usability testing according to the user-centered design in end users with severe motor paralysis". Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 59 (2): 99 – 110. doi:10.1016/j.artmed.2013.08.003.

    [5] Holz, Elisa M.; Botrel, Loic; Kübler, Andrea (2013). "Bridging gaps: long-term independent BCI home-use by a locked-in end-user". Proceedings of TOBI Workshop I. pp. 35–36.