The Neurosteer Corporation is a company active in the field of continuous brain monitoring using EEG electrodes. Professor Nathan Intrator, the Neurosteer CEO is a brain researcher from Tel Aviv University who deals with mathematical models of advanced signal processing for reading brain activity. “I understood that using mathematics it is possible to extract much more information from an EEG, and I began reading the brain with electrodes placed on the forehead,” he describes. “I also realized that in the medical field as well as in those areas related to wellness, it is possible to produce a vast amount of data with a small strip on the forehead that contains three only electrodes. And if I can do that, I will receive a small, mobile, continuous and inexpensive brain reader that can become significantly more available and usable.”
Last year, Prof. Intrator spent on sabbatical from the university so he can cultivate the idea he established together with his partner Lenny Ridel, an expert in the field of ‘big-data’. Their objective was to transform the mobile brain reader to a real product capable of solving a variety of problems. Currently, in the phase of feasibility testing, the Israel Innovation Authority has lent its support to Neurosteer.
“The product monitors cognitive load and emotional response but also activity connected to stress and executive functions, as well as level of consciousness,” Professor Intrator explains. “It is our intention to develop a monitor for clinical and home use (similar to the device that monitors diabetes, heart activity, and other phenomena), to assist patient rehabilitation. The monitor that is attached to the patient’s forehead, gathers the data and transfers it for storage in the ‘cloud’ where it is processed. By using methods of machine learning and artificial intelligence, responses are received that enable comparison to the same person’s previous condition or conditions of other people in a similar situation. The insights are transferred to the patient himself, to his physician using neurofeedback or as various warnings that provide indications about the reaction to medication or the patient’s current condition.”
Neurosteer is currently at the clinical trials stage to assess the clinical usability. However the options are manifold: the monitor can be attached to the foreheads of patients who are in a low state of consciousness or with whom it is impossible to communicate, thereby ascertaining the state of their brain activity. Following the brain monitoring procedure, we will be able to provide them with the correct treatment and even help them regain consciousness. Another clinical possibility is to make use of the monitor to enable these patients to communicate with the surroundings despite the fact that they are unable to move a single organ of their body.”
Much More than a Medical Product
The usages of Neurosteer’s “brain reader” exceed beyond the boundaries of medicine, and trials are already being conducted in other fields such as testing the level of a pupil’s concentration while solving mathematical exercises or other academic tasks. In this case, the data received will aid teachers in understanding what causes each pupil to be focused. This understanding will enable teachers to provide access to study materials in a manner that facilitates the maximum attention and concentration of each individual pupil. Some pupils found that animation will be the best way to understand the subject taught while others preferred written text. The device also offers reverse possibilities: if we want the pupil to train specific areas of the brain, such as short-term memory, rather than speed reading, the monitor processes the cognitive process, learns the location of the difficulty and offers ways to improve study and training.
The product, which is mobile, small and wearable, will enable patients to manage certain illnesses such as epilepsy, clinical anxieties, depression and others while sleeping or performing afternoon meditation. “Once we know how to monitor and analyze the brain, it will be possible to adopt lifestyle habits that help in preventing different attacks,” Dr. Intrator explains.
Following the stage of clinical trials, the company intends to develop a medical product and apply for FDA approval. In the subsequent stage, the objective is to increase the product’s availability and harness it to areas related to lifestyle aspects.
Neurosteer, just as Teliaz and other companies mentioned in this magazine, is participating in the Israeli pavilion of the Israel Innovation Authority at the world’s largest Life Sciences Convention held this year in San Diego. Jonathan Cohen, the representative of the Authority’s US-Israel Industrial R&D Cooperation Department, coordinating the delegation to the convention, points out that the Israeli pavilion is attracting high interest and attention and that he expects that the companies will conduct hundreds of meetings during the convention. “Eexperience proves that participation in the convention is highly productive in the recruitment of investment and for advancing commercial and technological cooperation with American and other partners attending the convention,” he says.