Brain.space, the Israeli brain infrastructure startup, today launches out of stealth with the announcement of an $8.5 million seed funding round led by Mangrove Capital Partners. The startup is also taking part in the Ramon Foundation’s Rakia Mission at the end of the month for the first-of-its-kind EEG experiment in space.
The GitHub for brain data
The startup has developed a headset that will lead to humanity's most extensive brain activity open-source data platform. Their goal is to provide researchers, medical practitioners, and software developers the underlying foundation to interpret, analyze and build brain activity products and services.
EEG (electroencephalogram) is the procedure used to monitor and record brain activity. It has been around since the 19th century but has seen little innovation since. That is what brain.space is trying to change. For four years, their research and development teams have been working on a breakthrough portable EEG headset that couples new EEG hardware design with AI for signal denoising and data interpretation. Essentially, they are bringing to market a comprehensive and affordable end-to-end technology stack that includes hardware, software, and workflows, to access and interpret brain activity data via API. It allows for data collection, standardization, insights, and API access through their senator design EEG headset; has state-of-the-art denoising architecture which removes artifacts for millisecond-level accuracy; includes a full developer platform, with API, cloud infrastructure and analysis tools; and applies Machine Learning to EEG, for pattern-matches across petabytes of data.
Taking EEG to space
If you’ve been following Geektime, you would have already read about the Ramon Foundation’s Rakia Mission which is sending 30 ground-breaking experiments to the International Space Station with Israel’s second astronaut, Eytan Stibbe. This mission acts as a unique opportunity for Israeli entrepreneurs, scientists, and researchers to advance innovative ideas by testing their work in space and thereby advancing both Israeli and international research.
While there is data collection being carried out for various physiological measurements, such as heart rate, galvanic skin resistance, and muscle mass, there is currently no high-quality longitudinal data regarding the neural changes in space missions. Obviously, such information can be vital in assessing and predicting how the brain will adapt to long-term space travel, which is now more than ever becoming a reality, especially as off-world living is being explored. That is why brain.space wants to send their technology to space with the Ramon Foundation’s Rakia Mission: to measure how being in space affects the brain.
"We founded brain.space to interpret and analyze the functions of the human brain. We are excited for the wonderful opportunity we have to explore the impact microgravity will have on the astronauts' brain activity and to map its characteristics." - Yair Levy CO-Founder & CEO
Previous neural studies in space were carried out using low-resolution gel-based EEG systems, which were complex to set up in microgravity and only focused on simple brain activity measurements. Measurements using high-density dry EEG systems, like that of brain.space, were never attempted. Brain.space’s hardware will conduct its experiment from April 2 through 8th, twice a day for 15 minutes whilst in the International Space Station. The brain.space headset will record and analyze the neurological activity of crewmembers to determine whether results obtained in microgravity are different from those achieved on the ground. Since the experiment was designed and performed with the support of the Ben Gurion University’s Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, the data collected in orbit will be transferred to brain.space and Ben-Gurion University researchers after each session for analysis. Brain.space will be able to assess whether there are changes in the astronauts’ cognitive functions and characterize their dynamics.