What if you could talk to Amazon Alexa in your mind? A new headset device that uses artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and brain computer interface technology could allow users to do that and more.
Santa Barbar, CA-based neural interfaces startup Cognixion has just raised $12 million in seed funding to develop AI-powered neural interfaces that unlock voice and smart home controls for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide with communications and physical capabilities. disabilities. The funding will help Cognixion develop new adaptive interfaces that make assisted reality technology easier for everyone to use. Prime Movers Lab led the round with fellow investors Northwell Health, Amazon Alexa Fund and Volta Circle.
Cognixion’s wireless brain computer interface with an integrated augmented reality display, Cognixion ONE detects the user’s brainwave signals associated with visual fixation on interactive objects and enables hands-free, speech-free control of augmented reality and extended reality applications in the headset. The company said the device is also designed to integrate with leading research software.
In addition to Cognixion ONE, the startup said it is building advanced machine learning algorithms and an AI-powered language system that adapts to each user’s unique communication style, making it more efficient at recognizing and anticipating what they intend to communicate. . A Cognixion headset user can interact directly with Amazon Alexa from anywhere, accessing the smart assistant features in the headset to interact with their environment and control smart devices, or access news, music, information and more.
“Cognixion solves usability and accessibility issues for [augmented reality and extended reality] and enabling new opportunities for people with disabilities today,” said Andreas Forsland, the company’s founder and CEO. “And in the near future, we see our innovations becoming a fundamental part of the metaverse, as a biological interface plus highly adaptive algorithms that create new usage scenarios for [extended reality].”
“We believe that technology should be inclusive and universally accessible to every individual, and that everyone deserves a solution that can be adapted to their needs – and that it is possible to build one solution that can be personalized for communication, access to information, interacting with smart devices, and everything else life has to offer,” Forsland said.
He added that Prime Movers Lab, the venture capital firm that led the seed round, is “an extension” of the Cognixion team, helping the startup with recruiting, marketing, government relations and building a pipeline of potential clients.
Why are VCs betting big on this high-tech augmented reality system?
“Cognixion has created a groundbreaking human-machine interface that accelerates and enriches human communication and connection,” said Amy Kruse, general partner at Prime Movers Lab. “You’d think Cognixion ONE would be something out of science fiction if it didn’t already exist. We believe it will be a fundamentally life-changing and integrative blend of an AI software platform with hardware to help people of all ages living with speech and motor disabilities, including cerebral palsy, brainstem stroke, ALS and many other conditions. Furthermore, we see the broader expansion of this platform to extend to all users to enrich life experiences including: gaming, apps, the metaverse and beyond.”
Souhel Najjar, MD, senior vice president and executive director of the neurology service line at Northwell Health, SVP and executive director of the neurology service line at Northwell Health, also praised the technology highly.
“Cognixion ONE’s combination of visual stimulation and EEG reading could revolutionize the means of communication for patients with physical and neurological disabilities,” Najjar said. “We look forward to working with the Cognixion team as they develop this technology and assess its effectiveness in addressing this important challenge.”
Rich Mulry, president and CEO of Northwell Holdings & Ventures, said Northwell’s investment and expertise will support Cognixion’s expansion into the healthcare provider markets.
What else is augmented reality used for in medtech?
Activ Surgical is building a hardware agnostic platform, including the ActivInsights augmented reality software suite, to enable autonomous and collaborative surgery by integrating computer vision, artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML), augmented reality and robotics. The company recently raised $45 million in Series B financing, bringing its total fundraising effort to $77 million.
Activ said the new funds will support the commercial availability of the ActivInsights software suite, including the first Insight, an augmented reality overlay that displays tissue perfusion in real time without the use of traditional dyes. The company will also use the money to support commercialization in the United States, pursue CE marking, further improve the ActivInsights software platform and develop its first ML-based insights.
Even Medtronic is taking advantage of the opportunity to leverage augmented reality in the medtech space. In April, the company signed a partnership agreement to use Surgical Theater’s SyncAR augmented reality technology with Medtronic’s StealthStation S8 surgical navigation system. The collaboration aims to give surgeons an “enhanced” view of complex skull procedures.