NFBlab—a versatile software for neurofeedback and brain-computer interface research

Nikolai Smetanin, Ksenia Volkova, Stanislav Zabodaev, Mikhail A. Lebedev, Alexei Ossadtchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Neurofeedback (NFB) is a real-time paradigm, where subjects learn to volitionally modulate their own brain activity recorded with electroencephalographic (EEG), magnetoencephalographic (MEG) or other functional brain imaging techniques and presented to them via one of sensory modalities: visual, auditory or tactile. NFB has been proposed as an approach to treat neurological conditions and augment brain functions. Although the early NFB studies date back nearly six decades ago, there is still much debate regarding the efficiency of this approach and the ways it should be implemented. Partly, the existing controversy is due to suboptimal conditions under which the NFB training is undertaken. Therefore, new experimental tools attempting to provide optimal or close to optimal training conditions are needed to further exploration of NFB paradigms and comparison of their effects across subjects and training days. To this end, we have developed open-source NFBLab, a versatile, Python-based software for conducting NFB experiments with completely reproducible paradigms and low-latency feedback presentation. Complex experimental protocols can be configured using the GUI and saved in NFBLab’s internal XML-based language that describes signal processing tracts, experimental blocks and sequences including randomization of experimental blocks. NFBLab implements interactive modules that enable individualized EEG/MEG signal processing tracts specification using spatial and temporal filters for feature selection and artifacts removal. NFBLab supports direct interfacing to MNE-Python software to facilitate source-space NFB based on individual head models and properly tailored individual inverse solvers. In addition to the standard algorithms for extraction of brain rhythms dynamics from EEG and MEG data, NFBLab implements several novel in-house signal processing algorithms that afford significant reduction in latency of feedback presentation and may potentially improve training effects. The software also supports several standard BCI paradigms. To interface with external data acquisition devices NFBLab employs Lab Streaming Layer protocol supported by the majority of EEG vendors. MEG devices are interfaced through the Fieldtrip buffer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain-computer interface
  • Flexible experiment design
  • Low-latency
  • LSL-protocol
  • Neurofeedback
  • Real-time EEG
  • Software


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