Imagine if no family had to feel helpless watching a loved one disappear behind the mask of Parkinson's or struggle in the grip of epilepsy. Imagine if we could reverse traumatic brain injury or PTSD for our veterans who are coming home. Imagine if someone with a prosthetic limb can now play the piano or throw a baseball as well as anybody else, because the wiring from the brain to that prosthetic is direct and triggered by what's already happening in the patient's mind. What if computers could respond to our thoughts or our language barriers could come tumbling down?"
— US President Barack Obama, in the East Room of the White House
"Low continues to push for broader applications, such as in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research, and has formed a partnership with Stephen Hawking to develop a communication device for ALS patients who have lost the ability to speak and move."
Image: Concept, Gilberto Tadday and Philip Low; Photo, Frank Rogozienski
Philip Low and Stephen W. Hawking: Towards Establishing Neural Correlates of Intended Movements and Speech Francis Crick Memorial Conference, Cambridge, UK, 7 Jul 2012
Single-Channel iBrain EEG recordings were conducted in a high-functioning 70 year old ALS patient attempting to move one of four limbs after a verbal cue: the left and right hand and foot. Raw EEG signals were analyzed with the SPEARS algorithm in order to make high-frequency/low spectral power signals detectable. Concurrent video recordings were obtained. During the attempted movements, the subject's brain activity demonstrated distinct broad-spectrum pulses extending to the Gamma and ultra-high Gamma ranges. Such pulses were present in the absence of actual movement and absent when the subject was not attempting motion. Activity in the Alpha range was detected when the subject closed his eyes, as expected. The emergence of such high bandwidth biomarkers opens the possibility to link intended movements to a library of words and convert them into speech, thus providing ALS sufferers with communication tools more dependent on the brain than on the body.
The Francis Crick Memorial Conference, focusing on "Consciousness in Humans and Non-Human Animals", aims to provide a purely data-driven perspective on the neural correlates of consciousness. The most advanced quantitative techniques for measuring and monitoring consciousness will be presented, with the topics of focus ranging from exploring the properties of neurons deep in the brainstem, to assessing global cerebral function in comatose patients. Model organisms investigated will span the species spectrum from flies to rodents, humans to birds, elephants to dolphins, and will be approached from the viewpoint of three branches of biology: anatomy, physiology, and behavior. Until animals have their own storytellers, humans will always have the most glorious part of the story, and with this proverbial concept in mind, the symposium will address the notion that humans do not alone possess the neurological faculties that constitute consciousness as it is presently understood.
The list of speakers consists of internationally renowned scientists. Click here for more information or download the announcement.
Bits Daily Report: A Device to Read Your Thoughts New York Times, 3 Apr 2012
"...The researchers traveled to Dr. Hawking's offices in Cambridge, England, fitted him with the iBrain headband and asked him ''to imagine that he was scrunching his right hand into a ball,'' Dr. Low said. The algorithm was able to discern Dr. Hawking's thoughts as signals..."
Whose brain would you like to hack? CNN, 9 Apr 2012
"... iBrain could provide major medical advances: Helping to monitor sleeping disorders and diagnose disorders like autism, depression, and PTSD ..."
iBrain could help Stephen Hawking speak again by reading his mind Fox News, 4 Apr 2012
"The black headband, aptly named iBrain, could eventually allow Hawking to communicate simply by thinking. The device is part of a new generation of portable brain scanners used to monitor conditions like depression, sleep apnea, and schizophrenia in real-time."
NeuroVigil wishes Prof. Stephen Hawking a Very Happy Birthday The Telegraph, 21 Jan 2012
"Despite his health — and the fact that he has done more than enough to be considered for a Nobel Prize — Hawking is still pushing on with his research. His most recent major paper, written with Thomas Hertog in Paris and Jim Hartle in California, came up with a deeper understanding of cosmic inflation, the astonishing growth spurt of the early universe."
Dr. Philip Low will provide an overview of NeuroVigil's activities in computational
neuroscience, wireless, hardware and neural engineering, and will cover
NeuroVigil's diverse projects on CNS neuropathologies from Pharma clinical trials
to the company's new partnership with Professor Stephen Hawking. Dr. Low will
also discuss how he was able to bootstrap the company to revenue, without
institutional support to secure one of the highest seed valuations in startup history.
Dr. Philip Low Wins Inaugural Jacobs-Rady Pioneer Award NeuroVigil, 6 Jun 2011
On the occasion of the fifth UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge, Mr. Ernest Rady, founding Chairman and CEO of Westcorp, presented the Inaugural Jacobs-Rady Pioneer Award for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Dr. Philip Low, Founder, Chairman and CEO of California Neurotechnology Company, NeuroVigil.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Low encouraged scientists to learn to become entrepreneurs instead of necessarily relying on outside experts to run their companies. This is especially important in companies where key technology and business decisions are interdependent. Dr. Low also critiqued what has been widely dubbed as the "San Diego Model" wherein entrepreneurs would only limit themselves to creating technology licensing boutiques for larger companies. "Surely the city of Ellen Scripps, of Francis Crick, of Jonas Salk, of Irwin Jacobs and Ernest Rady, the city that is the home of the Marines and the SEALS and the city that calls its airport Lindbergh Field, can do better than that." Low said, rousing applause from a crowd of young entrepreneurs. "There are many more Qualcomms, Googles and Genentechs to build. Let's go to work!" said Dr. Low.
NeuroVigil in the News Singularity Hub, 26 May 2011
"Understanding brain activity during sleep, researchers think, may unlock the secrets to understanding a range of neurological disorders including Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and depression. The new device is such a significant improvement over existing technologies that it has attracted private funding that raises the company valuation to $250 million..."
Roshan Paul Social Entrepreneurship Profile: Philip Low roshanpaul.org, 7 Oct 2010
"The healthcare ramifications of this are profound. Disorders such as Alzheimer's can be diagnosed far more efficiently. Potentially dangerous drug interactions can be anticipated and prevented. More important, the combined data of thousands or millions of people can be combed for intelligence that helps scientists discover cures more rapidly and at lower expense."
Dr. Philip Low: A Better Way To Read From The Brain NYAS, 25 Sep 2010
High-resolution brain scanning is currently limited to a laboratory environment, and tends to rely on methods which are costly, stressful and impair normal functioning. Here we present alternative methods which pair advanced single-channel EEG analysis, including SPEARS, to create dynamic maps of brain activity (Low Thesis, 2007) with non-invasive single-channel recording devices, including an affordable single-channel home-based brain recording device (iBrain). We present non-invasively collected biomarkers in both humans and animals and discuss the implementation of these techniques to obtain additional information on pre-market drugs in clinical trials.
"The device is small enough to be worn on a headband, so subjects can sleep at home rather than at a clinic. To make life even easier for subjects, the company is developing a version of the device that gathers data and beams it to a subject's cell phone, which can then send it wirelessly to NeuroVigil for analysis."
"The work has attracted the interest of giant pharmaceutical companies. In October, NeuroVigil signed a deal with Swiss drugmaker Roche to supply iBrain devices for clinical drug trials. The device will be used to detect subtle changes in brain activity at low doses before visible signs of side effects surface..."
Revolutionizing Sleep Science Huffington Post, 26 Jan 2010
"The size of two pennies, the miniature iBrain marks what scientists, doctors and venture capitalists see as holding the potential to revolutionize the study of sleep, speed the diagnosis of disease and tap into the multibillion dollar sleep and neurodiagnostics markets. 'We are about to give people access to their own brain,' Low says with cool confidence."
"Roche inks deal with sleep monitoring start-up" MobiHealth News, 2 Nov 2009
"...Wireless sensor and neuropathology start-up NeuroVigil has inked a deal with Swiss pharamceutical company Roche. NeuroVigil will provide Roche with its iBrain wireless sensors to help the company collect and analyze data during its clinical trials. NeuroVigil technology will be used to help the company's development of various drugs for CNS disorders..."
In Sleep, We Are Birds of a Feather The New York Times, 1 Jul 2008
Philip Steven Low of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, Calif., and colleagues report in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that electroencephalograms of the songbirds show they have episodes of rapid-eye-movement sleep and slow-wave sleep as well as transition stages and quick spikes, all reminiscent of mammalian sleep patterns.