Acquisition brings together MindX’s innovative software technology and Blackrock’s industry-leading BCI hardware under one roof
SALT LAKE CITY, April 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Blackrock Neurotech (“Blackrock” or “the Company”), a leading implantable brain-computer interface (“BCI”) technology backed by world-renowned investors Pierre Thiel and Christian Angermeyer, today announced the acquisition of spatial computing software company MindX, integrating the company’s innovative augmented reality (“AR”) and artificial intelligence (“AI”) technology with Blackrock’s BCI hardware. MindX was created in 2017 by a serial health tech entrepreneur Julia Brown and Catalio Capital Management, a multi-strategy life sciences investment firm.
The acquisition strengthens Blackrock’s existing software portfolio and positions the company to deliver comprehensive, integrated BCI products with innovative capabilities. The move follows Blackrock’s exclusive neural decoder license agreements with Stanford University and Colombia University.
At the cutting edge of neurotechnology, implantable BCIs are currently used to restore function in people with paralysis and neurological disorders. Blackrock Neurotech has long been the industry leader in BCI hardware and is responsible for the technology used by 31 of 35 human patients worldwide, with the longest chronic implant still active and lasting over seven years. These implants have been shown to restore movement, communication and touch, which improves the independence and quality of life of these patients.
At the heart of the clinical application of BCIs is the development of user-friendly software that decodes neural activity and translates brain signals into digital commands. With a focus on real-world applications, MindX’s proprietary spatial neuroinformatics technology is used to recognize and interpret the movement of objects in physical space and, in combination with decoded biological data, could unlock levels of… meaningful interactions between patients, their physical environments, and the digital world. This state-of-the-art integrated BCI platform aims to offer patients hope for increased quality of life, independence and autonomy and to fulfill the long-term promise of BCI.
As part of the acquisition, Julia Brown, founder and CEO of MindX, and her team will join Blackrock. Julia brings a wealth of experience in intelligent systems design, neurotechnology, and the development of personalized medicine and digital health solutions, as well as her start-up experience, which includes launching a series of successful health technology businesses. health from Johns Hopkins University.
“MindX is home to fantastic engineers who are developing breakthrough cutting-edge software at the intersection of neurotechnology, AR and AI, and we are especially excited to partner more deeply with Julia Brownwho has been an insightful innovator and leader in this field,” said Marcus Gerhardt, co-founder and CEO of Blackrock. “By merging our hardware DNA with their software DNA, we enhance our neural data analysis and enable flexibility and customization for a variety of BCI applications. Additionally, the ability to expand applications through spatial software and augmented reality exponentially advances our commercialization goals.
Blackrock, which plans to launch the first commercial BCI platform, MoveAgain, in early 2023, sees the acquisition as a key step in the development of its patient-facing software, the expansion of its technology platform and the seeding a basic AI capability. . While the initial goal is to help paralyzed patients interact with devices like keyboards, other applications such as restoring vision through human optical prostheses are also being explored. The acquisition is also expected to accelerate existing studies on speech restoration for patients with aphasia.
“Blackrock is the fastest moving company in bringing this technology to patients and is doing so in a way that aligns with our values in neuroethics and our vision of the potential of BCI,” Brown said. “I can’t think of a better way to get this technology into the hands of the patients who need it than by bringing two talented teams together and merging Blackrock hardware with the capabilities of MindX software.”
Although Blackrock intends to launch the first commercial BCI platform in 2023, its technology has been involved in human clinical trials since 2004. The company received a Breakthrough Designation from the FDA in 2021, which should enable a process FDA’s expedited review of the MoveAgain platform so that the product can be commercially available for a broader patient population.
About Blackrock Neurotech
Blackrock Neurotech, formerly known as Blackrock Microsystems, is dedicated to the clinical application of brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. Blackrock, founded in 2008, is the world’s leading platform company for BCI technology and the development of implantable solutions that improve human life. Blackrock’s precision electrode technology is at the heart of many global BCI innovations, enabling dozens of early adopters (known as “BCI Pioneers”) SeeAgain, HearAgain, MoveAgain and more. For more information, visit www.blackrockneurotech.com.
About MindX Corporation
MindX has developed an innovative software platform, MindOS, which uses brain-computer interfaces for next-generation spatial computing applications in assistive medical devices and consumer electronics. This platform provides users with a hands-free “look and think” interface for instant access to the world around them using a combination of neurotechnology, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. The company was founded in December 2017 like a fallout from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab with a team of talented engineers who are dedicated to creating new technologies that solve fundamental social and health issues and advancing these technologies from laboratory prototype to real-world products for everyday use.
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SOURCE Blackrock Neurotech