What do you get when you mix Google Glass and EEG? That’s the question that the people at Ottawa-based Personal Neuro are on their way to answering. Given the buzz around how Google Glass can be used in healthcare, and our longstanding interest in brain-computer interface, we took the opportunity to speak with Personal Neuro’s CEO, Steve Denison, about his company and what they’re building.
You can take a peek at their hardware via the brief video below:
Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: Can you describe the origins of PND?
Steve Denison: PND is the combined vision of its founders notably Andrew Faulkner, a masters level neuroscientist passionate about mental health care, and Dr. Elliot Loh, a Neuroscientist PhD with deep experience in pharma, personality measurement and neuro data collection and analysis, and Tony Gaitatzis, possessed of a unique background combining software & web development with psychology and design experience and skills. From the outset, the principal PND vision has been and is to make it possible for people to incorporate EEG neuroimaging information in their normal daily lives to improve multiple dimensions of their brain health.
Medgadget: What are the various use cases for your device?
Denison: This is probably the most difficult question to answer fully at this time. In the same way that smartglass technologies, particularly Google Glass, have encountered surprisingly strong interest for corporate and large organization applications including law enforcement, medical, military, first responders and customer service we expect that many use cases will emerge including many of the following:
- Passively monitor brain activity throughout the day and provide this intelligence to a physician to assist with diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as depression.
- Hyper-targeted content delivery in the blink of an eye, screened to match your specific tastes and interests with mood-sensing algorithms.
- Immediate response to elevated stress levels, with visual prompts to take a break and use Transcend, PND’s neuro-feedback meditation app to relax.
- Actively and remotely monitor the brain health of mission-critical, emergency response, transportation and front-line personnel in the field.
- Facilitate adherence to long-term medication therapies by providing patients with feedback on the re-emergence of subtle neuropsychological symptoms.
- Remotely and regularly monitor changes in the neuropsychological symptoms of participants in phase ll and lll drug trials.
- Enable easy and mobile neuro-feedback exercises for faster return-to-play and return-to-school after brain injuries, as well as maintenance of healthy brain function for older adults.
Medgadget: How does this compare to existing commercial EEG systems from companies such as Interaxon, NeuroSky, and Emotiv?
Denison: PND has taken an “apps first” approach. Starting with developing apps for the first mobile EEG headset for Android & iPhone, the MindWave Mobile, PND has focused on 1) building neuroapps which incorporate PND algorithms and technology, 2) understanding users’ requirements, 3) building a growing base of users and customers, and 4) leveraging neuroscience/neurofeedback research to develop specialized mobile treatment options. During this period, PND has had occasion to interact with the companies mentioned and it’s our view that each has developed interesting stand alone, general purpose products offering compelling features depending on the application. However, our approach, based on research into user preferences and customer behavior is to leverage the emergence of a common and widely accepted wearable form factor, smartglasses, combined with all the advantages of cloud-stored big data.
Medgadget: What is the most significant obstacle in terms of combining EEG and Google Glass technologies?
Denison: For PND the most difficult challenge is the analysis of the pure volume derived from and highly complex nature of the EEG signal and subsequent display and storage of information that is useful for a wearer of Glass. Each application is different and distinct and it’s a challenge to work out how best to best solve problems for a Glass user with context sensitive and meaningful information.
Medgadget: What are your backgrounds in medical technology/innovation?
Denison: All four founders have broad experience with neroimaging technologies and all have been involved with numerous early stage companies. Dr. Loh possesses years of experience working within the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, PND is supported by a strong board of advisers that includes Kevin Holmes who has years of experience in the medical devices field.
Company site: Personal Neuro…