Neurotech monthly. July 2021

BCI materials (graphene, hydrogel), hybrid stimulation ultrasound/optical and genetical, ML/DL and EEG. $$$ into invasive BCIs, CES, data platform

The fourth issue of astrocyte* newsletter is here. It covers:

My neurotech reading list

a) Tech Stack: BCI materials, graphene, hydrogel; hybrid stimulation - ultrasound/optical + genetical; other themes;

b) Data Science: EEG cleaning and DL applications review.

Startup/Corporate news

a) Investments: invasive BCIs, an app store of brain data, CES.

My interpretations/comments are in italic.

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I. Reading List

Tech Stack

Elon Musk’s Neuralink is being outperformed by this Spanish graphene startup - a bit punchy headline but a great article that highlights the importance of different industries coming together for making progress in neurotech.

Innovations come from everywhere, so happy to see a European startup working on neurotech. Also, if you do a neurotech startup try to learn as much as you can about adjacent fields - materials science, quantum computing, etc. Progress in these industries will affect your progress.

Another take on materials for BCIs and an attempt to solve the foreign body response - Adaptive and multifunctional hydrogel hybrid probes for long-term sensing and modulation of neural activity

New tool activates deep brain neurons by combining ultrasound, genetics - sonothermogenetics - noninvasive, cell-type-specific activation of neurons in the brain of mammal by combining ultrasound-induced heating effect and genetics.

That feeds into my previous comment on neurotech and adjacent fields. I’ll not be surprised if a successful neurotech startups will not only combine imaging modalities, but combine them with genetics, or other forms of interacting with the brain.

Another interesting work on nerve cells modification -Viral-mediated transduction of auditory neurons with opsins for optical and hybrid activation. ‘This work examines optical activation of auditory neurons following optogenetic modification via AAV injection in two species (mouse and guinea pig)’.

Wireless Power Delivery Techniques for Miniature Implantable Bioelectronics - a great overview of wireless power options for implanted bioelectronic devices.

We need neurotech to be wireless if we expect it to be adopted by consumers

These are great examples of what kind of tech allows a very high resolution - Microscale Cortical Activity Recorded for the First Time & Large-scale neural recordings with single-cell resolution in human cortex using high-density Neuropixels probes

Gold - Technology of deep brain stimulation: current status and future directions.

Data Science

Cortical response to naturalistic stimuli is largely predictable with deep neural networks. ‘Naturalistic stimuli, such as movies, activate a substantial portion of the human brain, invoking a response shared across individuals. Encoding models that predict the neural response to a given stimulus can be very useful for studying brain function… We demonstrate how incorporating this joint information leads to remarkable prediction performance across large areas of the cortex, well beyond the visual and auditory cortices into multi-sensory sites and frontal cortex’. Here’s a tweet.

Deep learning applied to electroencephalogram data in mental disorders: A systematic review - This article reviews how DL techniques have been applied to electroencephalogram (EEG) data for diagnostic and predictive purposes in conducting research on mental disorders.

Automated EEG cleaning - A comparison. - ‘… four algorithms that are actually easily available and simple to use with MNE-Python, which are AutoReject, the Riemannian Potato, ASR, and xDAWN’.

II. Startup/Corporate News/Other Announcements


Paradromics Raises $20MM in Seed Funding Led by Prime Movers Lab to Advance Brain Computer Interfaces (🇺🇸) Here’s why Prime Movers Lab invested:

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