CorrActions raises $2.7M to help avoid errors in human-machine interactions

CorrActions, a noninvasive neuroscience startup that uses sensor data to evaluate a user’s cognitive state due to drowsiness, alcohol, fatigue and other issues, today announced that it has raised a $2.7 million seed round. Early-stage fund VentureIsrael, seed fund Operator Partners and the Israeli Innovation Authority are backing the company, which is based out of OurCrowd’s Labs/02 incubator.

The idea here is to use touch sensors wherever humans may interact with machines, be that in a fighter jet’s cockpit, a car or anywhere else where knowing a user’s cognitive state could prevent potentially catastrophic errors. CorrActions promises that its proprietary algorithms can identify the user’s cognitive state and detect errors 150 milliseconds before they occur by “decoding unconscious brain signals through body motion monitoring.” For the most part, the system is use-case agnostic since it’s basically a generic platform that is independent of where it is implemented.

“Using sensors that already exist in nearly every electronic device like smartwatches, smartphones and even steering wheels and joysticks, CorrActions is the first in the world to be able to read a person’s cognitive state at any given moment by analyzing micro changes in their muscular activity,” explained Eldad Hochman, the company’s co-founder and CSO. “It is enough for the person to come in contact with an electronic device for two minutes and we can accurately quantify cognitive state and even predict a rapid deterioration, which may lead to failure or accidents. We can see this coming seconds before it occurs. This means that we can quantify the level of fatigue, intoxication, exhaustion or lack of concentration at any given moment.”

A lot of modern cars already feature sensors that can monitor your alertness, of course, and so it’s maybe no surprise that CorrActions is already working on proofs of concept with a few players in the automotive industry. In addition, it is also working on projects with the defense industry to show that its systems can assess a pilot’s performance, for example. But Hochman also believes that the company’s algorithms may be able to alert athletes or the elderly when they may be at risk of injury and falls.

The company says it will use the new funding to further develop its algorithms and support its current deployment partners, especially in the automotive industry.

“We are developing, and already seeing significant results for a technology which has the potential to save companies man-hours and money by preventing basic operational errors,” said CorrActions co-founder and CEO Zvi Ginosar. “Moreover, the application of our platform can be used to save lives, and prevent thousands of accidents and errors. In the next months we hope to be able to report more ground-breaking results and proof of concept trials, and this funding will greatly help us reach this goal.”

#corractions, #fatigue, #israeli-innovation-authority, #neuroscience, #operator-partners, #recent-funding, #smartphones, #startups, #symptoms, #tc, #ventureisrael

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Scientists induced hallucinations in mice to learn more about human psychosis

A computer game that induces mice to experience hallucination-like events could be a key to understanding the neurobiological roots of psychosis, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Enlarge / A computer game that induces mice to experience hallucination-like events could be a key to understanding the neurobiological roots of psychosis, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. (credit: J. Kuhl)

People suffering from psychotic episodes often experience both visual and aural hallucinations, due in part to the neurochemical dopamine; antipsychotics block dopamine receptors in the brain. But little is known about precisely how brain circuits change in response to elevated dopamine levels. The humble mouse might be able to help. An increase in dopamine in the brain can trigger auditory hallucinations in mice, according to a recent paper published in the journal Science—a surprising link between how human and mouse minds malfunction.

While the very notion of hallucinating mice might strike some as amusing, co-author Adam Kepecs of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis emphasizes that it is not a joke and that mouse studies really can shed light on human psychosis. “It’s so easy to accept the argument that psychosis is a fundamentally human thing and say, ‘Forget about mice’,” he said. “But right now, the prognosis for psychotic patients has not substantially improved over the past decades, and that’s because we don’t really understand the neurobiology of the disease.”

Kepecs’ lab has focused largely on developing a more complete understanding of confidence in rats by studying their neurocircuitry, with a long-term goal of shedding light on self-reported confidence in humans. Lead author Katharina Schmack is a psychiatrist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York who studies psychosis and schizophrenia. They saw an opportunity for an interdisciplinary study of psychotic disorders in animals.

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#dopamine, #hallucinations, #mouse-studies, #neurobiology, #neuroscience, #schizophrenia, #science

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Injection of Light-Sensitive Proteins Restores Blind Man’s Vision

The first successful clinical test of optogenetics lets a person see for the first time in decades, with help from image-enhancing goggles

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biology, #medicalbiotech, #mind, #neuroscience, #tech

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Our Memory Is Even Better Than Experts Thought

In some respects, memory is poor. In others, it is astonishingly good

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#cognition, #mind, #neuroscience

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Researchers add sense of touch to robotic arm via brain implant

A robotic arm grasps a white spherical object.

Enlarge (credit: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center)

One of the most astonishing examples of the promise of brain implants is shown in a video in which a paralyzed person controls a robotic arm with nothing but her thoughts. The technology alone is impressive, but the joy on the participant’s face as she grabs herself a drink for the first time in over a decade really drives home just how important this technology can be.

While we’re still decades away from widespread implant use, there are continued signs of progress in making implants more functional. Last week, we saw a neural implant that could turn imagined writing into real text. This week, the research community has followed up with an implant-controlled robotic arm that sends touch feedback to the user via a second implant.

Adding senses

When we go to pick up an object, we locate the object primarily through vision. From there, other senses take over. Humans have a sense called proprioception, which helps us know where are body parts are, even when they’re not visible. Our sense of touch tells us when we’ve made contact with the object, and pressure sensation gives us an indication of how firmly we’ve grasped the object. The visual system quickly becomes secondary to the process.

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#biology, #brain-implants, #brain-computer-interface, #medicine, #neuroscience, #robotics, #science

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What mimes interacting with invisible objects says about visual perception

When we watch a mime seemingly pull rope, climb steps, or try to escape that infernal box, we don’t struggle to recognize the implied objects. Rather, our minds automatically “see” them, a new study concludes.

The art of mime has been around in some form for millennia, although when it comes to contemporary depictions in popular culture, mimes seem to be almost universally hated. But they still have something to teach us. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have brought mime into the laboratory for a series of experiments exploring how the human brain fills in perceptual gaps. When a performer mimes an action on an unseen object, we form a kind of visual representation of that object in our mind, even though there is no physical object there. The implication of its physical presence is sufficient, according to a recent paper published in the journal Psychological Science.

“Most of the time, we know which objects are around us because we can just see them directly,” said co-author Chaz Firestone of JHU’s Perception & Mind Laboratory. “But what we explored here was how the mind automatically builds representations of objects that we can’t see at all but that we know must be there because of how they are affecting the world. That’s basically what mimes do. They can make us feel like we’re aware of some object just by seeming to interact with it.”

Firestone’s research to date has focused on a couple of key questions in cognitive psychology. First, how do people come to possess basic intuitions about the physics of the objects around us? If we see a precariously stacked pile of dishes, for instance, we worry about the possibility it might topple over, breaking the dishes.

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#cognitive-psychology, #mimes, #neuroscience, #science, #the-brain

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‘It’s almost like placing an IV’: Brain monitoring electrode receives FDA 510(k) clearance

An FDA pathway that’s greased the gears for COVID-19 vaccines and drugs has paved the way for something else: a new take on electroencephalography (EEG), the established brain-monitoring technique in which metallic electrodes are placed on the scalp to measure the brain’s electrical activity. 

On May 17, DC-based startup iCE Neurosystems announced a version of FDA approval for a subcutaneous electrode called iCE-SG, designed to monitor the brain’s electrical activity from beneath the skin of the scalp. That electrode comes on the back of a 2020 Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for iCE Neurosystems’ software platform called iCEWav, which was used in a D.C. area hospital to monitor the brain activity of patients in medically-induced comas during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

iCE Neurosystems electrode and software are, essentially, a new take on traditional EEG. The electrode is designed to sit beneath the scalp for days and analyze brain activity, and the software component is designed to integrate that data with vital signs like heart rate or blood pressure. 

“For the first time we’ve got this massive, high-fidelity, continuous, integrated data set from both brain and body,” says Alan Waziri, a neurosurgeon and company co-founder. “That allows us to really understand what’s happening in the brain to drive timely clinical decisions, and fundamentally change outcomes for these patients.” 

iCE was founded by Waziri and colleagues from his time as a resident at Columbia University Medical Center in 2017. As of 2021, the company has nine fulltime employees, and has raised a total of $4.5 million, including a recent round of $2.95 million from private investors in April 2021. 

The subcutaneous electrode and software combination is part of iCE Neurosystems bigger picture: to create a full platform for continuous monitoring of the brain. 

There are examples of use cases where continuous monitoring may prove beneficial. For instance, a 2019 New England Journal of Medicine study suggested that specialized EEG monitoring might detect signs of consciousness in otherwise unresponsive patients. That study was authored by Jan Claassen the director of Critical Care Neurology at Columbia who is also co-founder and minority shareholder at iCE Neurosystems. 

Another 2019 paper suggests that continuous monitoring via EEG was associated with fewer deaths in hospitals. But only 22,728 of the over 7 million people analyzed in the study had access to continuous EEG. 

Waziri’s aim is to increase that number. Subcutaneous electrodes, he’s betting, are a first step. The iCE-SG electrodes should be easy to install and don’t require the technical expertise usually required to prepare and administer an EEG, explains Waziri. Other scientists have also noted technical expertise needed to use and interpret traditional EEG is cumbersome and has stood in the way of long-term EEG monitoring. 

FDA approval documents note that the iCE-SG devices are approved to remain beneath the skin for 14 days, but Waziri says he’s obtained continuous monitoring of brain activity for up to 35 days. A long-term EEG analysis, by comparison, might last several days. 

“It’s almost like placing an IV,” Waziri says. “Basically a routine clinician at the bedside can place these in under five minutes.”

On the other hand, the platform alone can’t address the need for expertise to interpret this data. Waziri’s answer to that question is to make this data shareable.

Within a hospital, data collected by platform is stored on the cloud. However, a hospital could opt into sharing data on another platform iCECloud Knowledge with other medical institutions. 

“From participating institutions, all the data we collect gets put in there and is made available to anyone who is using our system,” he says. “Our goal is to almost kind of crowdsource the analysis of the data.”

So far, iCENeurosystems has pursued two forms of FDA approval for the software and the electrode. 

The electrode and the full platform have received FDA premarket approval through the 510(k) pathway – a type of pre-market approval that allows a medical device to go to market without additional FDA review because it’s substantially similar to other products already on the market (In this case, that tech is a traditional EEG). The iCEWav system was granted 510(k) approval in March 2020 and the electrode received it in March 2021

This pathway is one of the most expedient ways to get a medical device onto the market, but has also faced criticism because it doesn’t require a device to be tested for safety or efficacy through clinical trials. Waziri says there “haven’t been any complications” from the devices. 

Additionally, iCEWave has done time in the clinical setting in a major D.C. hospital, though Waziri won’t disclose which one. 

In early 2020, the DC based startup iCE Neurosystems was in the midst of testing iCEWav when the pandemic hit. Some Covid-19 patients required intense cardiopulmonary support that required use of medically induced comas. Technicians typically use EEG to monitor these patients, but iCE Neurosystems also received a trial run, says Waziri, as the hospital was looking for long-term methods of monitoring patients brain activity without having technicians visit multiple times per day. 

“They had our system in place because we were running a clinical trial in patients with cardiac arrest, and they asked us if they could use the system for monitoring their critically ill COVID patients. They actually applied to the FDA and the FDA granted emergency use authorization for the software,” Waziri says. 

So far Waziri and iCENeurosystems hasn’t published any peer-reviewed data from that trial at the D.C. area hospital, but he says the company has two forthcoming manuscripts. 

Meanwhile, Waziri says that iCE Neurosystems is working towards getting more devices into more hospitals. He says they’re in talks with an additional five hospitals, with the goal of beginning a Series A funding raise in mid 2022. 

#biotech, #eeg, #electroencephalography, #fda, #health, #medical-device, #neuroscience, #software-platform, #tc

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Autism and the Social Mind

Social cognitive neuroscience offers insights into the early course of brain development and its connections to autism spectrum disorder

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#mind, #neuroscience

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Researchers force two mice to hang out and induce FOMO in a third

Researchers force two mice to hang out and induce FOMO in a third

Enlarge (credit: David Aubrey)

Since its advent in 2005, a technique called optogenetics has made it vastly easier to link neural activity with behavior and to understand how neurons and brain regions are connected to each other. Neuroscientists just pick the (animal) neurons they’re interested in, genetically engineer them to express a light-responsive protein, and then stimulate them with the right type of light. This technique can be used to inhibit or excite a select subset of neurons in living, breathing, moving animals, illuminating which neural networks dictate the animals’ behaviors and decisions.

Taking advantage of work done in miniaturizing the optogenetic hardware, researchers have now used optogenetics to alter the activity in parts of the brain that influence social interactions in mice. And they’ve exerted a disturbing level of control over the way the mice interact.

Going small

A big limitation for early optogenetic studies was that the wires and optical fibers required to get light into an animal’s brain also get in the animals’ way, impeding their movements and potentially skewing results. Newer implantable wireless devices were developed about five years ago, but they can only be placed near certain brain regions. They’re also too tiny to accommodate many circuit components and receiver antennas, and they have to be programmed beforehand. Pity the poor would-be mind controllers who have to deal with such limited tools.

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#biology, #neuroscience, #optogenetics, #science, #social-behavior

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Neural implant lets paralyzed person type by imagining writing

An artist's schematic of the system.

Enlarge / An artist’s schematic of the system. (credit: Nature)

Elon Musk’s Neuralink has been making waves on the technology side of neural implants, but it hasn’t yet shown how we might actually use implants. For now, demonstrating the promise of implants remains in the hands of the academic community.

This week, the academic community provided a rather impressive example of the promise of neural implants. Using an implant, a paralyzed individual managed to type out roughly 90 characters per minute simply by imagining that he was writing those characters out by hand.

Dreaming is doing

Previous attempts at providing typing capabilities to paralyzed people via implants have involved giving subjects a virtual keyboard and letting them maneuver a cursor with their mind. The process is effective but slow, and it requires the user’s full attention, as the subject has to track the progress of the cursor and determine when to perform the equivalent of a key press. It also requires the user to spend the time to learn how to control the system.

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#biology, #brain-computer-interface, #medicine, #neural-implants, #neuroscience, #science

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New Brain Implant Turns Visualized Letters into Text

The technology lets people with paralysis perform thought dictation at rates approaching the thumb speeds of texters

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#mind, #neuroscience

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Adolescent Brains Are Wired to Want Status and Respect: That’s an Opportunity for Teachers and Parents

Advances in neuroscience and psychology could lead to real-world benefits in education and mental health

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#behaviorsociety, #features, #mind, #neuroscience

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High-bandwidth wireless BCI demonstrated in humans for first time

Stylized image of a brain with in a human head.

Enlarge / The BrainGate research consortium has achieved the first human use of a high-bandwidth, wireless brain-computer interface, enabling tetraplegic participants in a clinical trial to use the device without being tethered by a cable. (credit: kentoh/iStock/Getty Images)

Coming on the heels of the Neuralink announcement earlier this month—complete with video showing a monkey playing Pong with its mind, thanks to a wireless brain implant—researchers with the BrainGate Consortium has successfully demonstrated a high-bandwidth wireless brain-computer interface (BCI) in two tetraplegic human subjects. The researchers described their work in a recent paper published in the journal IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering.

BCIs interact with brain cells, recording the electrical activity of neurons and translating those signals into action. Such systems generally involve electrode sensors to record neuronal activity, a chipset to transmit the signals, and computer algorithms to translate the signals. BCIs can be external, similar to medical EEGs in that the electrodes are placed onto the scalp or forehead with a wearable cap; or they can be implanted directly into the brain. The former are less invasive but can be less accurate because there is more noise interfering with the signals; the latter require brain surgery, which can be risky.

BrainGate is an implanted device, used in research efforts focused on treating patients with spinal cord injuries or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Back in 2012, two paralyzed subjects with BrainGate implants successfully controlled a robotic arm; since then, subjects have been able to type on computers and use tablet apps. That BrainGate system employs a large, gray box cable, tethering the implanted sensor array to the external computers that decode the signals. This has restricted the system’s usefulness because technicians need to be on site during operation and take the cable with them when they finish a session.

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#bci, #brain-computer-interface, #braingate, #medical-devices, #neuralink, #neuroscience, #science

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Forecast or Remember: The Brain Must Choose One

Trying to predict a situation impedes memory formation

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #mind, #neuroscience

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Forgotten Memories of Traumatic Events Get Some Backing from Brain-Imaging Studies

A new wave of research seeks neurological signatures for a type of amnesia

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#mind, #neurological-health, #neuroscience

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How does the brain interpret computer languages?

Image of a pillar covered in lit ones and zeroes.

Enlarge (credit: Barcroft Media / Getty Images)

In the US, a 2016 Gallup poll found that the majority of schools want to start teaching code, with 66 percent of K-12 school principals thinking that computer science learning should be incorporated into other subjects. Most countries in Europe have added coding classes and computer science to their school curricula, with France and Spain introducing theirs in 2015. This new generation of coders is expected to boost the worldwide developer population from 23.9 million in 2019 to 28.7 million in 2024.

Despite all this effort, there’s still some confusion on how to teach coding. Is it more like a language, or more like math? Some new research may have settled this question by watching the brain’s activity while subjects read Python code.

Two schools on schooling

Right now, there are two schools of thought. The prevailing one is that coding is a type of language, with its own grammar rules and syntax that must be followed. After all, they’re called coding languages for a reason, right? This idea even has its own snazzy acronym: Coding as Another Language, or CAL.

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#biology, #brain, #computer-science, #language, #math, #neuroscience, #programming-language, #science

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People Answer Scientists’ Queries in Real Time While Dreaming

Researchers demonstrate that during REM sleep, people can hear—and respond to—simple questions (What is eight minus six?)

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#cognition, #mind, #neuroscience

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What happens when you replace a human gene with its Neanderthal version?

Image of two skulls.

Enlarge / The difference between modern human (left) and Neanderthal skulls means there must be some differences in how their brains develop. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

What are the key differences between modern humans and our closest relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans? For the Neanderthals, there doesn’t look to be any sort of obvious difference. They used sophisticated tools, made art, and established themselves in some very harsh environments. But, as far as we can tell, their overall population was never particularly high. When modern humans arrived on the scene in Eurasia, our numbers grew larger, we spread even further, and the Neanderthals and Denisovans ended up displaced and eventually extinct.

With our ability to obtain ancient DNA, we’ve now gotten a look at the genomes of both Neanderthals and Denisovans, which allows us to ask a more specific question: could some of our differences be due to genetics?

The three species are close relatives, so the number of differences in our proteins are relatively small. But a large, international research team has identified one and engineered it back into stem cells obtained from modern humans. And the researchers found that neural tissue made of these cells has notable differences from the same tissue grown with the modern human version of this gene.

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#biology, #brains, #evolution, #human-evolution, #neanderthal, #neuroscience, #science, #stem-cells

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Can Science Illuminate Our Inner Dark Matter?

Neither introspection nor brain scans can reveal our deepest thoughts

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#mind, #neuroscience

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How the Brain Responds to Beauty

Scientists search for the neural basis of an enigmatic experience

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#cognition, #mind, #neuroscience

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Prime Movers Lab raises $245 million for second fund to invest in early stage science startups

After revealing its first fund just last year, a $100 million pool of investment capital dedicated to early stage startups focusing on sustainable food development, clean energy, health innovation and new space technologies, Prime Movers Lab is back with a second fund. Prime Movers Lab Fund II is larger, with $245 million committed, but it will pursue the same investment strategy, albeit with a plan to place more bets on more companies, with an expanded investment team to help manage the funds and portfolio.

“There are a lot of VCs out there,” explained founder and general partner Dakin Sloss about the concept behind the fund. “But there aren’t many VCs that are focused exclusively on breakthrough science, or deep tech. Even though there are a couple, when you look at the proportion of capital, I think it’s something like less than 10% of capital is going to these types of companies. But if you look at what’s meaningful to the life of the average person over the next 30 years, these are all the companies that are important, whether it’s coronavirus vaccine,s or solar energy production, or feeding the planet through aquaponics. These are the things that are really meaningful to to making a better quality of life for most people.”

Sloss told me that he sees part of the issue around why the proportion of capital dedicated to solving these significant problems is that it requires a lot of deep category knowledge to invest in correctly.

“There’s not enough technical expertise in VC firms to choose winners intelligently, rather than ending up with the next Theranos or clean tech bubble,” he said. “So that’s the first thing I wanted to solve. I have a physics background, and I was able to bring together a team of partners that have really deeply technical backgrounds.”

As referenced, Sloss himself has a degree from Stanford in Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy. He was a serial entrepreneur before starting the fund, having founded Tachyus, OpenGov and nonprofit California Common Sense. Other Partners on the team include systems engineer Dan Slomski, who previously worked on machine vision, electro-mechanical systems and developing a new multi-phase flow fluid analyzer; Amy Kruse, who holds a PhD in neuroscience and has served as an executive in defence technology and applied neuroscience companies; and Carly Anderson, a chemical engineer who has worked in biomedicine and oil & gas, and who has a PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering. In addition to core partners with that kind of expertise, Prime Movers Lab enlists the help of venture partners and specialist advisors like former astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Having individuals with deep field expertise on the core team, in addition to supplementing that with top-notch advisors, is definitely a competitive advantage, particularly when investing in the kinds of companies that Prime Movers Lab does early on in their development. There’s a perception that companies pursuing these kinds of hard tech problems aren’t necessarily as viable as a target for traditional venture funding, specifically because of the timelines for returns. Sloss says he believes that’s a misperception based on unfortunate past experience.

“I think there are three big myths about breakthrough science or hard tech or deep tech,” he said. “That it takes longer, that it’s more capital intensive, and that it’s higher risk. And I think the reason those myths are out there is people invested in things like Theranos, and the clean tech bubble. But I think that there were fundamental mistakes made in how they underwrote risk of doing that.”

Image Credits: Momentus

To avoid making those kinds of mistakes, Sloss says that Prime Movers Lab views prospective investments from the perspective of a “spectrum of risk,” which includes risk of the science itself (does the fundamental technology involve actually work), engineering risk (given the science works, can we make it something we can sell) and finally, commercialization or scaling risk (can we then make it and sell it at scale with economics that work). Sloss says that if you use this risk matrix to assess investments, and allocated funds to address primarily the engineering risk category, concerns around timeframes to return don’t really apply.

He cites Primer Movers Lab’s Fund I portfolio, which includes space propulsion company Momentus, heading for an exit to the public markets via SPAC (the company’s Russian CEO actually just resigned in order to smooth the path for that, in fact), and notes that of the 15 companies that Fund I invested in, four are totally on a path to going public. That would put them much faster to an exit than is typical for early stage investment targets, and Sloss credits the very different approach most hard science startups take to IP development and capital.

“The inflection points in these types of companies are actually I think faster to get to market, because they’ve spent years developing the IP, staying at relatively low or attractive valuations,” he said. “Then we can kind of come in, at that inflection point, and help them get ready to commercialize and scale up exponentially, to where other investors no longer have to underwrite the difference between science and engineering risk, they can just see it’s working and producing revenue.”

Companies that fit this mold often come directly from academia, and keep the team small and focused while they’re figuring out the core scientific discovery or innovation that enables the business. A prime example of this in recent memory is Wingcopter, a German drone startup that developed and patented a technology for a tilt-wing rotor that changes the economics of electric autonomous drone flight. The startup just took its first significant startup investment after bootstrapping for four years, and the funds will indeed be used to help it accelerate engineering on a path towards high-volume production.

While Wingcopter isn’t a Prime Movers Lab portfolio company, many of its investments fit the same mold. Boom Aerospace is currently working on building and flying its subscale demonstration aircraft to pave the way for a future supersonic airliner, while Axiom Space just announced the first crew of private tourists to the International Space Station who will fly on a SpaceX Falcon 9 for $50 million a piece. As long as you can prove the fundamentals are sound, allocating money turning it into something marketable seems like a logical strategy.

For Prime Movers Lab’s Fund II, the plan is to invest in around 30 or so companies, roughly doubling the number of investments from Fund I. In addition to its partners with scientific expertise, the firm also includes Partners with skill sets including creative direction, industrial design, executive coaching and business acumen, and provides those services to its portfolio companies as value-add to help them supplement their technical innovations. Its Fund I portfolio includes Momentus and Axiom, as mentioned, as well as vertical farming startup Upward Farms, coronavirus vaccine startup Covaxx, and more.

#advisors, #articles, #astronaut, #business-incubators, #ceo, #chris-hadfield, #clean-energy, #corporate-finance, #deep-tech, #entrepreneurship, #executive, #falcon, #finance, #funding, #international-space-station, #machine-vision, #momentus, #money, #neuroscience, #oil, #prime-movers-lab, #private-equity, #serial-entrepreneur, #stanford, #startup-company, #startups, #tc, #theranos, #venture-capital, #wingcopter

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Electrical Brain Stimulation May Alleviate Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors

Noninvasive electrical zaps, tuned specifically to individual brain-activity patterns, appear to reduce checking, hoarding and other compulsions for up to three months

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#behaviorsociety, #mind, #neuroscience

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Baby Bees Deprive Caregivers of Sleep

Bee larvae and pupae appear to secrete a chemical that does the work of a late-night cup of coffee on their nurses.

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#behaviorsociety, #biology, #mind, #neuroscience, #the-sciences

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Forecasts of Epilepsy Seizures Could Become a Reality

Making predictions up to several days in advance may help with care

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#mind, #neurological-health, #neuroscience

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Brain Sides Both Busy In New Language Learning

A study of adults learning a new language found that speaking primarily activated regions in the left side of the brain but reading and listening comprehension were much more variable.

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#cognition, #mind, #neuroscience, #the-sciences

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Brain Sides Are Both Busy in New Language Learning

A study of adults learning a new language found that speaking primarily activated regions in the left side of the brain, but reading and listening comprehension were much more variable

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#cognition, #mind, #neuroscience, #the-sciences

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Eye Treatment Stretches Mouse Sight Beyond Visible Spectrum

Nanoparticles that attach to photoreceptors allowed mice to see infrared and near-infrared light for up to two months.

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#chemistry, #mind, #neuroscience, #physics, #the-sciences

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Does the Nose Talk to the Womb?

Research suggests that the course of a pregnancy may be shaped by a man’s odor

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#mind, #neuroscience

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Portugal’s Faber reaches $24.3M for its second fund aimed at data-driven startups from Iberia

Portuguese VC Faber has hit the first close of its Faber Tech II fund at €20.5 million ($24.3 million). The fund will focus on early-stage data-driven startups starting from Southern Europe and the Iberian peninsula, with the aim of reaching a final close of €30 million in the coming months. The new fund targets pre-series A and early-stage startups in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science.

The fund is backed by European Investment Fund (EIF) and the local Financial Development Institution (IFD), with a joint commitment of €15 million (backed by the Investment Plan for Europe – the Juncker Plan and through the Portugal Tech program), alongside other private institutional and individual investors.

Alexandre Barbosa, Faber’s Managing Partner, said “The success of the first close of our new fund allows us to foresee a growth in the demand for this type of investment, as we believe digital transformation through Intelligence Artificial, Machine Learning and data science are increasingly relevant for companies and their businesses, and we think Southern Europe will be the launchpad of a growing number.”

Faber has already ‘warehoused’ three initial investments. It co-financed a 15.6 million euros Series A for SWORD Health – portuguese startup that created the first digital physiotherapy system combining artificial intelligence and clinical teams. It led the pre-seed round of YData, a startup with a data-centric development platform that provides data science professionals tools to deal with accessing high-quality and meaningful data while protecting its privacy. It also co-financed the pre-seed round of Emotai, a neuroscience-powered analytics and performance-boosting platform for virtual sports.

Faber was a first local investor in the first wave of Portugal’s most promising startups, such as Seedrs (co-founded by Carlos Silva, one f Faber’s Partners) which recently announced its merger with CrowdCube); Unbabel; Codacy and Hole19, among others.

Faber’s main focus is deep-tech and data science startups and as such it’s assembled around 20 experts, researchers, Data Scientists, CTO’s, Founders, AI and Machine Learning professors, as part of its investment strategy.

In particular, it’s created the new role of Professor-in-residence, the first of whom is renowned professor Mário Figueiredo from Lisbon’s leading tech university Instituto Superior Técnico. His interests include signal processing, machine learning, AI and optimization, being a highly cited researcher in these fields.

Speaking to TechCrunch in an interview Barbosa added: “We’ve seen first-time, but also second and third-time entrepreneurs coming over to Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid and experimenting with their next startup and considering starting-up from Iberia in the first place. But also successful entrepreneurs considering extending their engineering teams to Portugal and building engineering hubs in Portugal or Spain.”

“We’ve been historically countercyclical, so we found that startups came to, and appears in Iberia back in 2012 / 2013. This time around mid-2020, we’re very bullish on what’s we can do for the entrepreneurial engine of the economy. We see a lot happening – especially around our thesis – which is basically the data stack, all things data AI-driven, machine learning, data science, and we see that as a very relevant core. A lot of the transformation and digitization is happening right now, so we see a lot of promising stuff going on and a lot of promising talent establishing and setting up companies in Portugal and Spain – so that’s why we think this story is relevant for Europe as a whole.”

#articles, #artificial-intelligence, #barcelona, #crowdcube, #cto, #entrepreneurship, #europe, #european-investment-fund, #machine-learning, #madrid, #managing-partner, #neuroscience, #portugal, #private-equity, #seedrs, #spain, #startup-company, #tc, #valencia

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What Does a Guilty Brain Look Like?

Behavioral biomarkers and the new science of neuroprediction

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#mind, #neuroscience

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Decoding a Disorder at the Interface of Mind and Brain

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#features, #mind, #neurological-health, #neuroscience

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A new way to plug a human brain into a computer: Via veins

human brain, motherboards, chip and artificial intelligence concept and neural tech and brain computer interfaces.

Enlarge / human brain, motherboards, chip and artificial intelligence concept and neural tech and brain computer interfaces.

The hard part of connecting a gooey, thinking brain to a cold, one-ing and zero-ing computer is getting information through your thick skull—or mine, or anyone’s. The whole point of a skull, after all, is keeping a brain safely separate from [waves hands at everything].

So if that brain isn’t yours, the only way to tell what’s going on inside it is inference. People make very educated guesses based on what that brain tells a body to do—like, if the body makes some noises that you can understand (that’s speech) or moves around in a recognizable way. That’s a problem for people trying to understand how the brain works, and an even bigger problem for people who because of injury or illness can’t move or speak. Sophisticated imaging technologies like functional magnetic resonance can give you some clues. But it’d be great to have something more direct. For decades, technologists have been trying to get brains to interface with computer keyboards or robot arms, to get meat to commune with silicon.

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#brain-computer-interface, #neuroscience, #science

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— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#behaviorsociety, #mind, #neuroscience

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The Science of Nerdiness

It’s a neurotransmitter thing

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#mind, #neuroscience

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AI Assesses Alzheimer’s Risk by Analyzing Word Usage

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#medicalbiotech, #mind, #neurological-health, #neuroscience, #tech

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#behaviorsociety, #cognition, #mind, #neuroscience

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These Researchers are Putting Fly Babies into Virtual Reality

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#mind, #neuroscience

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Readers Respond to the May 2020 Issue

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#letters, #neuroscience, #the-sciences

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Elon Musk’s Pig-Brain Implant Is Still a Long Way from ‘Solving Paralysis’

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#medicalbiotech, #mind, #neurological-health, #neuroscience

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New Views of Our Mesmerizing, Maddening Minds

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#behaviorsociety, #cognition, #from-the-editor, #mind, #neuroscience

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Warbler Species Fires Up Song Diversity

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— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biology, #conservation, #environment, #evolution, #natural-disasters, #neuroscience, #the-sciences

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Cracking the Neural Code with Phantom Smells

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— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

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Construction Process Builds Brain Circuits

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#advances, #biology, #mind, #neuroscience, #the-sciences

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Sequential Comparisons Could Mean Better Witness Identifications

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— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#behaviorsociety, #mind, #neuroscience, #policyethics, #the-sciences

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Paired Comparisons Could Mean Better Witness Identifications

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— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#behaviorsociety, #mind, #neuroscience, #policyethics, #the-sciences

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Neural Switch Flips on Aggression in Male Mice

A separate set of cells in the same region regulate sexual behavior

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#behaviorsociety, #mind, #neuroscience

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