NeuroCONCISE's brain-computer interface wins 2018 Innovation Award

  • It may sound like something straight out of science fiction, but brain-computer interfaces are quickly becoming a reality thanks to the efforts of groups such as Northern Irish biotechnology company NeuroCONCISE.

    Thousands of people around the world live with debilitating nerve disorders, spinal damage, or traumatic brain injuries that leave them paralysed or even unable to communicate. The pioneering field of brain-computer interfaces aims to enable patients to control computer systems by reading their brain activity when they think of moving or performing a task and then translating that information into a control signal. BCIs have been used in recent years to enable patients in vegetative states to communicate for the first time via computer systems, and even to help patients control robotic prosthetics and electrically stimulate muscles.

    NeuroCONCISE focuses on helping patients with traumatic brain injury leading to a loss of conscious control, first by detecting changes in the patient's brain activity when they attempt voluntary movement and then by translating that into control signals for a computer. The company has successfully used the technology to detect consciousness in 'locked in' patients and help them to answer yes or no questions using a non-invasive wearable device and its proprietary AI-based software.

    The Derry/Londonderry company won the Innovation of the Year award at last week's IET 2018 Innovation Awards in London for its wearable brain-computer interface device that can be concealed in any standard headgear. Originally spun out of the University of Ulster in 2016 by Professor of Neurotechnology Damien Coyle, the company also recently became the NI regional finalist of InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Business Competition.

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