This podcast's purpose is to bring together the field of neuroprosthetics / brain machine interfaces / brain implants in an understandable conversation about the current topics and breakthroughs. We hope to complement scientific papers on new neural research in an easy, digestable way. Innovators and professionals can share thoughts or ideas to facilitate 'idea sex' to make the field of brain implants a smaller and more personal space.
Nick Halper Discusses Braingrade and His Transition From a Stable Job to an Early Stage Med-tech Startup in the Middle of a Pandemic.
Nick Halper is a cofounder of Braingrade, where he and his team are developing a brain-computer interface to reverse the cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Before founding Braingrade, he worked at Blackrock Microsystems as a project manager on the product, support, engineering and software teams. In today’s episode, Nick talks about his transition from academia to industry and then from leaving a stable job to joining an early-stage startup in the middle of a pandemic. He also talks about the work he is doing with his new company, Braingrade.
Top three takeaways:
Braingrade is working on implantable devices geared towards the memory circuit. Working remotely has created a system to employ lots of talented people without the usual barrier of location. There are currently openings and Braingrade for talented young people looking to contribute to their work.
[0:00] Ladan introduces the episode and the guest, Nick Halper
[2:20] Nick Halper introduces Braingrade to the public. He talks about his background and how he got started with Braingrade.
[5:30] Braingrade is working on an implantable device geared at the memory circuit and hippocampus. A disease they are working to have a real impact in treating is Alzheimer’s disease.
[7:30] Some aspects of the company (Braingrade) are defined by COVID, for instance, Peter and Nick work in completely different parts of the world. This structure has helped produce an incredible team of people by removing the barrier of entry.
[10:00] Nick talks about working with a team completely remotely and setting up a work culture that keeps everyone feeling included.
[11:20] Braingrade is hiring for Head electrical engineering and a few other roles.
[13:00] Challenges: A neurodegenerative disorder is an interesting one to tackle and that will differently come with its challenges.
[15:30] Speaking on how medical regulations should actually be seen as guidance rather than challenges, Nick discusses how he sees the opportunity to have constructive discussions and interaction with institutions like the FDA on moving your project forward.
[16:55] Nick talks about his career jump from academia to industry to joining a med device startup
[18:30] If you had unlimited funding, what would you do?
[22:50] Reminder: Braingrade is currently hiring for positions to join their team doing cutting edge work in Alzheimer’s research and memory enhancement,
Yael Hanein Discusses Working With Electrophysiological Tools
Yael Haneun is a professor of Electrical Engineering at Tel Aviv University. Her research field is neuro-engineering, focusing on developing wearable electronic and bionic vision. She is also the VP of Nano Retina and has previously worked as a research associate at the University of Washington. In today’s episode, Yael talks about her work in neuro-engineering and some breakthroughs with electrophysiological tools.
Top three takeaways:
With soft dry electrodes, you have a system that is truly wireless. Wet electrodes are better for short durations and dry electrodes are better for long durations. At the moment, Yael’s company is focusing on 3 directions, sleeping monitoring, sports application and developing a kit for other researchers to apply the technology.
[0:00] Ladan introduces the episode and the guest, Yael Hanein
[1:55] Yael introduces her work in neuro-engineering; giving a timelapse from her work in electrophysiology to her recent work using electrophysiological tools for skin applications.
[2:45] EEGs are basically electrodes on the skin, Yael explains the mechanics of using EEGs.
[6:00] ‘Wet electrodes are for short durations and dry electrodes are for long durations.’ Yale breaks down the explains the functional lifetime of the two different electrode setup and when to use either.
[6:45] The information we get from these electrodes is electrophysiological. The first thing we use the electrodes to get was facial mapping and facial expressions.
[12:25] Yael discusses what academic life is like in Israel. She talks about some of the similarities and differences with American academic life.
[15:20] Yael talks about starting a company, the motivation behind it and the difficulties of going commercial.
[21:15] What are some of the challenges with the research and making it more mainstream?
[26:45] Thomas discusses his role at Cortec-neuro
Thomas Stieglitz Discusses Material Choice in Implant Development
Thomas Stieglitz is a professor at the University of Freiburg where he does research on the development of biocompatible construction and interconnection technology as well as the use of microsystems for neuroprosthesis and neuromodulation. Thomas Stieglitz is also on the scientific-technical advisory board of Cortec- Neuro. In today’s episode, Thomas talks about is work in neuromodulation, shares insights on the best materials for implant development and finally, share some of the challenges faced with neuroprosthesis.
Top three takeaways:
Polymers have a lot of advantages as materials for implants. They are more flexible than Silicon although they are not as flexible as Making the ideal implant takes targeting very well. And tailoring functionality to needs. General-purpose implants will not work 3d printing has injected a new wave of possibility in the world of prosthetics
[0:00] Ladan introduces the episode and the guest, Thomas Stieglitz
[3:30] Thomas Stieglitz talks about the different disciplines of Neural interfaces / neural electrodes and the motivation for his work.
[8:00] Polymers have a list of advantages. One is that they are more flexible than Silicon. Another is their variety of shapes.
[9:20] Silicon has advantages in certain areas. It is the best technology for recording and stimulating
[13:00] Thomas Stieglitz talks about the P dot polymer, what it is and how it works.
[16:35] Thomas Stieglitz talks about the ideal implant and describes the most robust and reliable implant you can have
[18:50] It will be an exciting development to see a paper on the comprehensive model of a digital twin of implant failure nodes.
[23:30] In Europe, without any institution like the IDE, there is no seamless way to get implants to human trials without negotiating with a legal entity to prove potential for success
[26:45] Thomas discusses his role at Cortec-neuro
[27:35] There are good and bad aspects of working with implants. Sometimes implants are damaged because Surgery personnel are not careful enough or rehabilitation personnel don’t follow the manual and break the connectors.
[30:00] “We believe that now, that we can predict with the data that we have and some additional in vitro experiments that we did after getting them back to proving something that those pieces can survive up to 5 billion of stimulation, pulses.”
Rob Spence Discusses Living as a Cyborg with a Camera Implant
Rob Spence is a documentary film-maker. He lost his right eye as a child during a shotgun accident at his grandparents home. Thirteen years ago, he replaced his prosthetic eye with a wireless video camera. He continues to make improvements on the eye and has produced films about people living with bionic implants. In today’s episode, Rob talks to us about living with a camera implant and the fast-moving world of bionics.
Top three takeaways:
There’s room for improvement in the area of eye prosthetics, especially to increase the adoption of cameras that can restore vision for the completely visually impaired. Ethics and privacy are big issues when you have a camera installed into your eye socket. 3d printing has injected a new wave of possibility in the world of prosthetics
[0:00] Ladan introduces the episode and the guest, Rob Spence
[1:40] Rob Spence shares the story behind losing his eyes during a shotgun accident as a child.
[3:40] After living a few years with an eye patch, Rob, now a filmmaker, decided to get a prosthetic camera.
[6:50] Rob works with a team on improving the camera and making it better. He talks in detail about what goes into making a good ‘eye camera’.
[11:15] On some of his filmmaking projects, Rob is giving enough creative freedom that he occasionally includes footage from his camera.
[13:20] It’s difficult turning the ‘eye camera’ into a mass prosthetic product because each one has to be made custom for the wearer.
[18:50] For blind people, there’s some benefit in connecting an implanted camera to the optic nerve to restore some level of vision.
[24:00] There is quite a bit of ethical consideration to keep in mind when you have a camera in your eye. People often bring up how it threatens the privacy of the people I capture with my eye.
[26:05] “I just have a hole in my head and I wanted to put a cool camera in there”
Ryan Tanaka on Neura Pod, the Neuralink Youtube channel and podcast
Ryan Tanaka is the host of Neura Pod which is the Youtube channel and podcast specifically about Elon Musk's Neuralink company.
"My interest from for Neuralink primarily started because of working at Tesla previously, and then just getting more and more exposure to Elon Musk and some of the other projects that he's been working on and then realizing that Neuralink is going to be a substantially larger company in the future."
Matt Angle with an update from Paradromics and their new Neurotech Pub Podcast
Matt Angle is the founder and CEO of Paradromics, a Brain-Computer Interface company that can handle up to 65,000 simultaneous channels. He was on the show 2 years ago and is updating us on new happenings at Paradromics. He also talks about their new Neurotech Pub Podcast which brings together neurotech leaders in a roundtable podcast.
"And I think you'd say also, early nascent industry is like a bank heist. Everyone is friends. Until they get the money and then everyone tries to kill each other. And I think that we're, neurotechnology is still in the, like trying to get the money side of the bank heist. The markets are just opening up."
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great and Informative Channel!
This channel provides wonderful in-depth perspectives to the developing field of neural technologies. I highly recommend the Dan Rizzuto episode—really made me ponder the possibilities for patients suffering from traumatic brain injury. Awesome job!
Best source of neural interface and brain implant info on the web today
Ladan is an amazing podcaster who has managed to snag some of the best and most important people in this space and ask great questions for 30+ minutes at a time. Very on topic, insightful, and I've learned so many things about companies and research that I could not have anywhere else. If you're into brain-computer interfaces, this is perhaps THE most information-dense way to learn.
Helpful and insightful
I really enjoy the different guests in this podcast. I'm a 1st year engineering student and just started as a research student assistant at my university. I still have not gotten to the upper level courses so I feel rather behind in terms of knowledge during lab meetings, but this podcasts helps me shorten that gap between what I know and want to know in terms of neuroprostheses. Definitely recommend!