ANN ARBOR—Neurable, a University of Michigan startup that developed brain-computer interface technology based on breakthrough neuroscience, has raised a $2 million seed round to bring its software platform to market.
Neurable's patent-pending technology interprets intent based on user's' brain activity, enabling real-time control of software and connected devices using only the power of the brain. The company is developing a software development kit for integration of its technology with virtual/augmented reality content and headsets.
Robert Winter of the Rice Owls and Brian Shin of Accomplice's Boston Syndicate led the round with participation from Point Judith Capital, Loup Ventures, the Kraft Group, NXT Ventures, and prominent angel investors.
"Our goal is to build a new platform for human-computer interaction," said Ramses Alcaide, co-founder and CEO of Neurable. "Our investors share our vision for the broad potential of our technology and for creating a world without limitations. We appreciate their confidence."
Shin said: "The team at Neurable believes they can enable people to easily control devices and objects with their minds. The implications would be enormous. They have a chance to completely alter the way humans interact with technology, which is something that I had to be a part of."
Neurable has roots at U-M's Direct Brain Interface Laboratory where Alcaide invented the core technology while working on his doctorate under Dr. Jane Huggins, one of the foremost researchers in brain-computer interfaces. Its innovation is based on new insights into how certain brainwaves work. Neurable performs complex data analyses using novel machine learning approaches, which provide significant advantages in speed and accuracy when determining user intent.
The Neurable founding team includes recent graduates from three schools at U-M and their experience demonstrates "the collaborative nature of what we do here at U-M," said Michael Psarouthakis, director of the Venture Center at U-M Tech Transfer.
"And we couldn't be happier that they're receiving such broad national support from the investment community. All of us in the U-M community who worked with Neurable are incredibly proud of what the team has been able to accomplish thus far, and we're confident this is just the first of many positive milestones on the horizon," Psarouthakis said.
Neurable offers a new method for interaction in AR/VR, or augmented reality and virtual reality, applications, solving many of the current problems with user experience. Neurable offers a hands-free method for control while avoiding the limitations of other technologies such as eye-tracking or voice commands. With Neurable, users can control menus and options in AR displays, or create magic and cast spells in VR games, all through the power of their brains.
Neurable is non-invasive and uses dry-electrode sensors to record brain activity. It is also wireless, so it does not impair users' movement. Neurable will license its software development kit to manufacturers of AR/VR headsets and to content developers. The SDK is platform agnostic and compatible with all leading AR/VR headsets, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and the Microsoft HoloLens.
The Neurable kit includes plugin support for leading game engines such as Unity and Unreal as well as Qt, a platform for UI, application, and embedded device development. Neurable's SDK will be released to select developers in the second half of 2017.