Zhentai Iintelligence (臻泰智能) is a Brain-machine interface (BMI) company which was incubated Xian Jiaotong University. It was founded in 2018, and completed its Angel round of financing on September 24, to speedup the R&D of BMI based rehabilitation robots.
Zhentai's main products is BMI based lower limb rehabilitation robot, which will combine BMI, VR and robotics control, to activate the patient's neural signal and carry out rehabilitation trainings. In the future, BMI technology is still likely to be first applied in the most needed areas of medical rehabilitation to help patients with mobility disabilities to carry out assisted exercise and other functions.
Facebook has announced the acquisition of BMI startup CTRL-Labs this week, to develop a wrist-band that can connect with other equipments. Founded in 2015, CTRL-labs is a startup pioneering the development of non-invasive neural interfaces that reimagine how humans and machines collaborate. It mainly develops neural interface for VR/AR and robots. Its series A round of financing was led by Alphabet and Amazon last year, followed by another USD 28 million this February, the total funding amount is USD 67 million.
In China, startups are finding it hard to secure backers in such a winter of capital, investors are being more careful about money burning business model. At present, the BMI industry in China is mostly concentrated in the field of scientific research, and has not yet formed a large-scale of market application. Overseas companies that combine BMI with rehabilitation robots are also in the early stages of exploration. The third BCI Robot Competition was held at the World Robot Congress in August and presented some examples; competitions showed the product technologies of idea confrontation, mind-controlled typing, idea-controlled UAV, idea-controlled rehabilitation equipment, etc.
From the return point of view, capital may be more enthusiastic about wider applications such as comsumer market and education, which seems to generate profit in the foreseeable future. From the growth point of view, even though medical applications takes longer R&D period and are more costly, the margin could be higher once the landing scene setups.