Notes from WIM Salon: Brain-Machine Interface Scenarios
Popularized by Elon Musk's foray into the area, a technology with an eye-catching title has entered our imaginary horizon: the Brain-Machine Interface (BMI), which literally meaning connecting neurons to software... We wrapped up the latest insights into the issue.
The Brain-Machine Interface session of the WIM Salon was held in Beijing on November 10th. Four guests from China's burgeoning healthtech, neurosciences, and healthcare PE scenes shared their take on BMI.
The Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) is a direct communication pathway between brain and external devices, as defined by Yi Huicong, an analyst at EqualOcean. She has also estimated the potential market size for BMI to be slightly lower than USD 1 billion at present, with an 11% CAGR. The applications of the technology span the military, healthcare and TMT as of 2019.
Key Takeaways From the Event
Coach Wei shared his insights into the issue by boldly stating his position. "To be honest, we have to be very sceptical about some of the projects, that are supposedly developing BMI," he said. "As we know almost nothing about the brain, we should concentrate more on understanding the brain," he added. Coach Wei is the Co-Founder of a brain science company, Neural Galaxy.
"The real breakthrough of BMI will require some significant progress in technology and brain research. Currently, BMI solutions are very constrained by what available technologies can do. There is a long-distance to go in order to deliver on the promise of BMI" stated Coach Wei.
"The core team members of Neural Galaxy is from MIT and Harward, and most of them are brain scientists. It has been discovered that different areas of the brain are responsible for different parts of the body functions, and most of the brain disorders are functioning issues. If one goes through a medical imaging process, he or she may not be able to find out what particularly causes the problem deep inside in his brain. That's why it is complex and that is why we're digging deep into understanding the brain," he stated.
As a representative of the Beijing PE field, Chiling Chang stressed the monetization aspect of the issue. "BMI is yet another application in healthcare that amazes us, yet as a nascent application, it is hard to be optimistic about the monetization of the technique," Chiling said. "We advise those companies to raise funds from government and academia-backed funds," she added. Chiling Chang is the Healthcare Investment Partner at Zhenghe Hutong Fund.
"Breakthrough technologies like BMI always excite us. As an investor, we ask tens of questions to those who are striving to create value with these breakthrough technologies, and it is not easy to pass our due diligence," she said. "We are not only offering them capital but also our service, connections and mentorship to those paradigms shifters,"
Luo Shanzhen stressed the significance of cutting-edge technologies in the fight with neurological problems, such as Alzheimer's. She defines people with Alzheimer's, autism, and other disorders as "people with dimensions." She sees BMI as yet another tool to explore what is deep inside our brain. She expects massive developments in Parkinson's treatment, diagnosis, and research in China. She is the CEO of Lezhi, a Beijing-based elderly care services provider.
Biman Liyanage hosted the event. He is the Co-Founder of Wonder Technology. Biman Liyanage is a researcher, inventor and serial entrepreneur specialized in affective computing and smart material based advanced wearables. He shared intriguing insights into how his startup strives to detect human emotions by machines and how to create value for businesses with these technologies.
As an entrepreneur with diverse background, he scaled up the issue and moved it to a completely new dimension, focusing on the state of 'mindfulness' and its effects on how the brain actually works.
WIM Salon X Beijing is a technology and innovation event organized by EqualOcean. We invite outstanding representatives with sophisticated tech and industrial backgrounds, as well as investment organizations, to explore cutting-edge technologies. We are aligned with EqualOcean’s WIM2019 conference, which will gather 6,000 innovators (entrepreneurs, investors, influencers) from all around the world.
The event was part of a series of events. In the next event, we are going to dig into China's auto industry, one of the basic blocks of our expertise at EqualOcean. The theme of the next event is “The Transportation and Mobility Revolution in China”.
Company executives, corporate leaders, and start-up representatives who are interested in learning more about China's new consumer market are invited to join the Salon.