Neurable’s Brain-Computer Interface Platform Scores U-M Investment

Neurable, a University of Michigan spinout now located in Cambridge, MA, has received a new investment from the university’s Zell Lurie Founders Fund to help commercialize its brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

The new capital builds on a $2 million seed round the company raised last December, says co-founder and CEO Ramses Alcaide.

Neurable has created a non-invasive BCI that allows users to control software and devices using their thoughts. BCIs were first developed a few decades ago to help those with neuromuscular disorders and other severe physical disabilities use communications software through cerebral activity.

Alcaide says Neurable’s system is a machine learning platform that classifies brain signals and then combines algorithms and neurological insights to discern user intent in real time. The speed and accuracy of Neurable’s platform is what makes it different from competitors, he adds.

“Current systems are very awkward, and ours solves that,” Alcaide says. “A world without limitations is our core message.”

The company is currently focused on licensing its technology to developers of so-called mixed reality games, which take place in the real and virtual worlds simultaneously. Alcaide says the company is still figuring out what, if anything, it will charge for its developer kits. “The goal is to get them in as many people’s hands as possible,” he says.

Neurable also sees its technology eventually being used in alternative reality and virtual reality applications in other sectors, including entertainment and healthcare.

“Neurable’s primary focus is location-based entertainment—virtual reality arcades and other installations,” Alcaide explains. “That’s our short-term business plan. Our long-term goal is creating a next-generation operating system so you can interact with a computer hands-free.”

Neurable’s growth has been swift. The 13-person company launched in 2015 and has been the beneficiary of a number of U-M’s incubation programs, including TechArb and the 2016 Michigan Business Challenge. Neurable also scored a spot at the Rice Business Plan Competition, where it won more than $300,000.

Last year, Neurable was lured from Ann Arbor to Cambridge partly at the behest of investors, including BOSS Syndicate (organized by VC firm Accomplice), which led the company’s seed funding round.

Alcaide says Neurable will spend the rest of the year “continuing to push forward.” When asked if the company has or plans any new office locations, he declined to comment.

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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