Junior Research Group Leader
Excellence Cluster BrainLinks-BrainTools
, Dept. Computer Science
Email: michael.tangermann (AT) blbt.uni-freiburg.de
Since July 2013, I am the head of the Brain State Decoding Lab
at the University of Freiburg, Germany. The lab is part of the cluster
of excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools
and most of my projects are funded by the German excellence initiative.
Until June 2013, I was member of the Intelligent Data Analysis group at
the Technical University of Berlin, Germany and member of the Berlin
Brain-Computer Interface group (BBCI
My research is on machine learning problems, which arise during the
single-trial decoding of mental states from neuronal signals. Brain data
is specifically challenging due to its low signal-to-noise ratio, high
dimensionality, and -- as brain signals change over time -- its
non-stationary characteristics. Algorithmically, these challenges can be
tackled by the subject-specific optimization of spatial filters, an
adaptive classification/decoding strategy capable to track
non-stationary distributions of data, and by high-performing yet robust
regularized decoding methods.
I study these problems in the context of my application field,
non-invasive and invasive Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI). Here I am
specifically into BCI paradigms for patients (rehabilitation after
stroke, communication, control), new auditory BCI paradigms which allow
to tap into single-trial language processing, passive mental state
monitoring of workload, listening effort, attentional- and learning
processes. These topics usually are studied in real-time applications,
which are set up with healthy subjects in our labs, as well as with
patients at their bedsides.
My publication list gives a more
detailed picture of my research activities. On some research topics
you may find short overviews. My
contributions for student education are listed on the teaching
- February 2016: Our novel BCI-supported stroke rehabilitation
paradigm targets language production deficits. Kickoff for 30h
effective rehab training with first patient!
- November 2014: Looking forward to a bilateral meeting of DFG and
NSF members in Arlington, VA, on cutting-edge neurotechnology
- November 2014: Had a great experience at the JGFOS meeting in
Bremen, organized by the Alexander
von Humboldt Foundation
- Harvesting time! Finally a number of long-expected manuscripts got
- Looking for something new in auditory BCI? Try the CharStreamer
paradigm - videos and sounds are on PLoS One, too.
our matlab-based toolbox for automatic cleaning of EEG artifacts
is out on JNE. Great work together with Irene Winkler.
- True zero-training adaptive online BCI spelling (auditory) is
now on PLoS
ONE. Was fun to team up with Pieter-Jan Kindermans for this
- If you ever wondered, what transfer
learning can do for you in an ERP-BCI, take a look at our
new JNE paper. Again work with Pieter-Jan Kindermans.
- June 2014: We welcome Karl Marret, an exchange student from
University of Washington, in our lab! With his background from Adrian
KC Lee's Laboratory for Auditory Brain Sciences &
Neuroengineering, Karl will spend a hot research summer in
- Great opportunity to participate in cutting-edge BCI research: PhD job offers in my lab.
- Our BCI-controlled chess game is featured in the October
newsletter of the German Center for Research and Innovation, New
- Looking forward to the invitation to give a talk at the Bernstein Center Freiburg about auditory BCI
technology on October 22, 2013.
- June 2013: Making a move - from July on my new affiliation
will be University
Freiburg. The excellence cluster BrainLinks-BrainTools offers lots of
challenging research tasks!
- May 2013: Our workshop "A-2: Current State and Future Challenges in
Auditory BCI" at the Asilomar BCI meeting seems attractive: 25
participants have applied (still growing!)
- February 2013: Auditory BCI rocks! Our paper "Natural stimuli improve auditory BCIs with respect
to ergonomics and performance" has been chosen as one of JNE's highlights of 2012! (This
means it will be free to read for the whole of 2013)
- February 2013: Our EU-funded project TOBI has just received the rating "excellent"
in its final project review!
- January 2013: Together with Jez Hill and Martijn Schreuder, I am
looking forward to preparing the auditory BCI workshop, which has
just been accepted for the BCI
meeting in Asilomar in June.
- January 2013: Google Scholar's estimation of my scientific impact
approach 2000 citations. OK, there is some jitter
depending on clean-ups now and then, but overall, it is great to
see, that my results are being used!
- December 2012: Our group has moved into a new TU building:
Marchstr. 23 is the place to be now.
- September 2012: Gave two hands-on workshops in auditory
Brain-Computer Interfaces for the BBCI summer school.
- June 2012: Newly published: Our review article about the last BCI
data analysis competition (open access at Frontiers Neuroscience)
- June 2012: Newly published: Rich natural syllables improve
auditory BCI performance and subjective usability ratings (in press at J Neural Eng)
- June 2012: Newly published: ERP-based BCI can be driven by fixed
stimulation sequences! (a contribution to IEEE EMBS 2012)
- June 2, 2012: BCI demo during the "Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften", a public
nightly science show of Berlin's research community. Find our
demo on the main stage (TU audimax lecture hall) at prime
time. At the BCI-controlled chess board: chess pro Martin Krämer.
- May 2012: Organized a press release and live demo of
BCI-controlled chess game. The dpa and dapd (see video) were there, and many more!
- April 2012: Associate Press video report on BCI-controlled chess
game (picked up by several news channels).
- November 8, 2011: German TV report (Kabeleins) on our
BCI-controlled Brain-Chess! (may unfortunately be blocked
when viewing with an IP address from outside their broadcasting
- Universität der Künste, Berlin, Rundgang 11: In cooperation with Dept. "Kunst
im Kontext", a BCI controlled installation by Dejan Markovic is
shown from July 14 to July 17, 2011.
- BCI-controlled chess game was demonstrated to the public in 3
chess matches (2 wins, 1 draw) against visitors of the 16. Berliner Tag der Mathematik
- May 11, 2011: Radiofeulleton Deutschlandradio: report about BCI-controlled
- Award received for our Top Cited Article 2008-2010
in Journal of Neuroscience Methods.
- TV reports
on our new auditory BCI paradigm (on MDR, RBB, 3Sat)
- Organized a press event: release of BCI-controlled
photobrowser and spatial auditory speller application
- Organized a press conference with live demo of BCI-controlled
pinball gaming (with the Addams Family Pinball machine)
- Work on playing pinball with BCI control was published in NIPS
- TOBI has started
in november 2008. It combines 11 BCI groups from 5 countries.
Goal: BCI assistive technology is applied for patients with
- Hooray! Our grant proposal for a large European integrated
project (7th framework) was accepted. The new acronym to get
used to: TOBI (tools
for brain-computer interaction).