Monitoring brain activities and translating the signals into commands to control devices is truly a ‘Cool Idea’. Nurio is the latest winner of Protolabs’ Cool Idea award – a $250k grant towards manufacturing services to rapid prototype and accelerate the product to the market. (Click here to learn more about Cool Idea Award)
What amazes me the most is the close intersection of different hardware and software technologies that have enabled this and similar devices:
Integrated Chip (IC) miniaturization – As smart phones continue to push the form factor of ICs (thanks to Moore’s law), we are able to fit more functionality in our pocket. This has led to an ecosystem of devices that can be re-purposed for new innovative application – Brain computing interface (BCI) being one of them.
Computing Power – Instead of having a separate computer to crunch the massive amount of data from the device, we can use the super computer in our pocket (smart phone)
Here is one of my favorite fact – Apple recently released their new iPhone with an A13 chip. This chip has 8.5 billion transistors. In comparison, the entire cluster of 117 servers for Toy Story (1995) had roughly 1 billion CPU transistors. (Image below. source: podcast from @a16z). So you have 8.5 times the processing power in your pocket then what Pixar had to make the first Toy Story movie. 🤯
Artificial Intelligence (AI) – The hardest part with this amount of data is finding the signal from the noise. However now with self learning systems, we are able to process tons of data without any pre-processing from humans.
Digital Manufacturing – Protolab’s digital platform allows innovators to iterate their design, build prototype in days to get user feedback, get expertise advice to select material and reduce cost to control product entry price point for increased market adoption. They are also able to scale production with demand. This could be done within few weeks to months! Without digital manufacturing, this speed does not exist and entrepreneur are stuck in long product development cycle while other technologies continue to progresses potentially risking their product obsolete by the time they bring it to market.
Being a tech geek, it is beautiful to see when innovators are able to perfectly bring all these different technologies together to build devices to advance the human race.