WIM Salon | Brain Machine Interface-How Far Is It From Academia To Commercialization

Healthcare, Technology, Financials Author: Huicong Yi Editor: Luke Sheehan Nov 06, 2019 03:56 PM (GMT+8)

The brain is one of the most complex objects in the universe. The WIM Salon invites you to join us in exploring the latest in neuroscience, and to consider the cutting-edge technology that is the ‘Brain-Machine Interface.’

Image credit: EqualOcean

Registration link: https://en.iyiou.com/a/wim_BMI_2019.html

With 100 billion neurons in each of our brains, scientists have had their work cut out exploring the mysteries of how they connect and work in sequence. As global aging accelerates, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease are becoming the focus of attention, and a brain science research boom has swept through the clinical world as a result.

On the other hand, human beings are also thinking about the technology that expands the boundaries of people's capabilities as we face the rise of Artificial Intelligence. The concept of the Brain-Machine Interface has arisen almost spontaneously in this context.

BMI is a direct communication pathway between the brain and external devices. Through a device that allows for bidirectional information flow between the human brain and a machine, the BMI is often used as an assisted living device for individuals with motor or sensory impairments. Apart from uses in the healthcare industry and special demands from the military, other downstream applications, like education and entertainment, have emerged also.

One of the most famous endeavors in this frontier, Neuralink, was founded by Elon Musk in 2016; he has injected USD 158 million into this business. Neuralink's first step toward a scalable ultra-high bandwidth BMI system consisted of building arrays of small and flexible electrode 'threads,' with as many as 3,072 electrodes per array distributed across 96 threads. Neuralink has also built a neurosurgical robot capable of inserting six threads per minute. The goal of Neuralink is to eventually implant its technology into patients with sputum or other diseases, allowing them to control computers with their minds. The company's ambitious plan is to begin human trials as early as next year.

Presently, three common pathways between the brain and the object to be controlled are: invasive BMI; partially invasive BMI and non-invasive BMI. Across these successive variations, the resolution of the signal shrinks as the connection gets less invasive.

Compared to the aggressive pathway which involves inserting chips into people's brains, Chinese companies are now focusing on less-invasive ways. Healthcare is the biggest downstream application.

For example, through real-time monitoring of an epilepsy patient's brain signals, prognosis and early intervention may control the condition.

Scientists also keep researching BMI's applications as adjuvant therapy in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. EqualOcean will soon host a WIM Salon on November 10 to discuss the latest breakthrough and commercialization of neuroscience and the following topics (among others):

1. What's the current level of understanding of how our brains work?

2. What's the working theory of BMI, and how is the current development of this technology?

3. Recently there has been a buzz around BMI, what do you think this technology will achieve in the future and how will it change people's lives?

4. In China, do you see any opportunities regarding future neurodegenerative diseases, such as the application of BMI as an adjuvant therapy?

According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, brain-related diseases, including various neurological and psychiatric diseases, accounting for 28% of social burdens, exceeding even cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The diagnosis and intervention processes for severe brain diseases is a very important research area in the field of brain science and technology, and will continue to be so in the future. Apart from the healthcare side, people are also curious about the working principle of our brain and even want to use BMI as a human enhancement tool. So far, even though the main BMI solutions are one-directional – with the most common uses for people with brain injuries – it is still expected to provide more applications.

World Innovators Meet (WIM) 2019 officially launched with the WIM Salon on August 25, 2019. There are also two upcoming events, the Automobile and the WIM annual summary. Scan for more information!