WI Harper-backed Neuracle Technology Co., Ltd. has officially announced the completion of a RMB 60 million financing round. To date, Neuracle has completed three rounds of financing, with a total financing scale exceeding Rmb 100million. This round of investment was led by China Control Fund, China Development Fund, China Development Frontier Fund, and BV Baidu Ventures.
Neuracle develops, produces, sells and provides technical services for brain-computer interface (BCI) system-related equipment with its own innovative “brain-machine interface” technology. The company provides professional and complete solutions for neuroscience innovation research and clinical neurological diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Its clients are concentrated in brain science research and clinical medicine. Huang Xiaoshan, general manager of Neuracle, said that this round of financing will mainly be used to accelerate the research and development of clinical products, and promote the products of minimally invasive implant feedback therapy and brain-computer intelligent active rehabilitation.
As the first global cross-border VC organization to enter the Asia-Pacific region, WI Harper Group continues to focus on artificial intelligence, intelligent manufacturing, big data, AR/VR, 5G, financial technology, insurance, eco-environmental and medical health, especially as a brain machine. Frontier technology such as interfaces is used in medical health and in all walks of life. Wang Shuai, vice president of WI Harper Group, said: “At present, the rapid development of brain-computer interface technology and the expansion of brain-computer interface technology in more vertical fields are the foundation of solid technology and the trend of human-computer integration in the era of artificial intelligence. ”
How does science fiction turn into reality? The curtain of industrial layout has been quietly opened.
Today, with increasingly advanced technology, the “intention” control in science fiction movies is gradually moving from science fiction to reality. BCI technology is the technical basis of such “super-power” by converting brain signals into the control command of the external device. In order to form two-way interactions, information input mode going into the brain has also been added, resulting in brain+computer intelligence. By connecting the brain to the outside world, the intelligence of the brain and the intelligence of the machine complement and work together to form a symbiotic relationship.
BCI is already widely used in clinical medicine, educational research, game entertainment, consumer electronics and many other fields. This technology will bridge the gap between people and machines, thus creating huge social and commercial value which is attracting attention from technology giants and capital from all walks of life. Neuralink, a black technology pioneer founded by Elon Musk (with more than $100 million in financing), released a BCI system this year. The system can be used for closed-loop neuromodulation – which can be used for both neuronal signaling – and electroencephalographic stimulation for the diagnosis and treatment of a series of neurological diseases. The diseases range from epilepsy, depression, Parkinson’s syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease. Facebook is reportedly also investing in this field with the goal to help people with impaired language function.
Research into BCI technology isn’t new but already backed by years of effort. In 2013, the US government proposed the “Innovative Neurotechnology Brain Research Program” (referred to as the “brain plan”). Objectives included exploring the working mechanism of the human brain, developing therapies for brain incurable diseases, etc. In the US federal government’s fiscal year 2017 budget, the budget for the “brain plan” has increased to $434 million. Also in 2013, the European Union launched a 10-year “Human Brain Project” consisting of 26 countries with 135 partner institutions.
Breaking the import monopoly: “Made in China” helps China’s “brain plan”
China’s “13th Five-Year Plan” includes a “brain plan” which outlines “brain science and brain-like research” as “scientific and technological innovation 2030 – major project.” China’s “brain plan” has been continuously promoted by many parties. Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces and other brain science research centers have been established the “one body, two wings” of China’s “brain plan” in order to study brain recognition. The known neurological principle is the “subject;” while the development of new methods for the diagnosis and treatment of major brain diseases and new technology of brain intelligence are “two wings”.
From a technical point of view, the brain-computer interface is roughly divided into two types: invasive and non-invasive. Implanting electrodes or chips in the brain is an invasive brain-computer interface technology. Although invasive technology can accurately detect the discharge of neurons, there are risks of brain infection. On the contrary, non-invasive technology has higher safety, but stops at the collection of scalp EEG, and cannot obtain brain information in depth. Huang Xiaoshan emphasized that Neuracle has carried out R&D and clinical application of minimally invasive BCI technology while fully exploiting the advantages of non-invasive BCI technology and products, thus breaking the application bottleneck of invasive methods.
As the leader of this round, Li Chaowen, vice president of investment in China Industrial Investment Fund, said: “The brain-computer interface is a sophisticated and cutting-edge technology. It is also the main means of studying brain science and realizing the interconnection of brains. It is in the treatment and rehabilitation of neurological diseases. The application prospects in medical, brain science research, consumer electronics and education are broad. The core team of Neuracle is from the world’s leading neuro engineering laboratory of Tsinghua University in the field of BCI. The team is professional, dedicated and dedicated, and has been deeply involved in this field for more than ten years, and we value its development potential.”
Build a man-machine bridge and empower multiple vertical fields
Relying on non-invasive and minimally invasive BCI platform technology, Neuracle has formed products and solutions in various fields. At present, Neuracle products are mainly used in the fields of brain science research, neurological disease diagnosis, and treatment.
In 2018, Neuracle had over 30% market share in the BCI research field, and its products have been used at domestic and foreign research institutions, such as Tsinghua University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and UCSD. According to Huang Xiaoshan, based on the R&D strength of core technologies such as signal acquisition and data processing, Neuracle products can collect EEG signals in a complex environment and better filter and analyze the data. The product has strong anti-interference ability. The core performance has reached or surpassed international first-class standards.
In addition, at the recent BCI Brain Control Robot Competition and the 3rd China Brain Machine Interface Competition held in Beijing, Neuracle provided BCI signal acquisition equipment and data analysis platforms for these competitions from Tianjin University. Wei Si Wen’s output of 691.55 bits per minute on a computer screen (equivalent to 69 Chinese characters per minute) has created a new record in China using BCI technology. In the diagnosis of neurological diseases, Neuracle products include EEG and evoked potential instrument (brain function monitor), high-frequency high-lead brain electricity acquisition system. The former is mainly used for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases, such as epilepsy and cerebral hemorrhage. The latter is mostly used for neurosurgical assisted positioning. Huang Xiaoshan pointed out that product development should lead to accurate medical solutions for clinical needs. Taking the high-frequency high-lead EEG acquisition system as an example, the product needs to be cut from the location of epilepsy lesions and is then refined on core indicators, such as channel number and sampling rate. The innovative scheme of high-frequency analysis and positioning function enhances the product’s competitiveness.
This is also the key component of the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” medical device of the Ministry of Science and Technology, which is currently in the process of widespread popularization. In terms of therapeutic products, Huang Xiaoshan said that Neuracle will focus on minimally invasive implant feedback therapy and brain-computer intelligent active rehabilitation. Minimally invasive implant feedback therapy is for the treatment of neurological diseases such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Taking Alzheimer’s disease as an example, the clinical manifestations of patients can be improved by monitoring and stimulating the brain regions related to memory. The intelligent active rehabilitation of the brain is to help people recover from nerve diseases, such as stroke. The “stroke” is actually the death of nerve cells in the motor area, but based on the plasticity of the undead part of the nerve cells, the BCI device collects and analyzes the instructions issued by the brain, and executes the commands through the robot arm and other devices. The execution action is then fed back to the brain, and finally the patient “learns” again.
Translated from: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/xEzF3l0x_rvZvp_YX34fjQ