BrainQ is a new neurotech startup hoping to take on brain-computer interface (BCI) companies like Braintree founder Bryan Johnson’s Kernel and Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk’s Neuralink. It’s not clear yet what Musk’s startup intends to do with the computer chips it plans to put in our heads, but Johnson’s startup says it is focused on developing “technologies to understand and treat neurological diseases in new and exciting ways.”
Whatever sector each company goes for, both plan to insert chips in our brains to connect us to computers — the consequences of which could have dramatic effects on human memory, intelligence, communication and many other areas that could rocket humanity forward, should they work out.
But it’s early days in this industry, including for BrainQ, which plans to use a non-surgically embedded EEG machine instead to gather data and help improve outcomes for stroke and spinal cord patients. Aside from the brain implant options, BrainQ faces quite a bit of competition in this area. EEG machines are nothing new, not even in the spinal cord injury space. Missouri-based NeuroLutions is working on similar EEG type technology to improve and restore function to paralytics. NeuroPace, a Kleiner-funded startup, is focused on seizures rather than stroke and spinal cord injuries, but is based on the same idea.
BrainQ admits it is also a couple years out from being fully operational here. It still needs to get through clinical human trials and gain Food and Drug Administration approval to sell its services in the U.S.