Sid Kouider (Nextmind): Democratizing Brain-Computer Interfaces
Sid Kouider, Neuroscientist and Founder says Nextmind manages to democratize Brain-Computer Interfaces by designing an easy-to-use, non-invasive brain-sensing wearable and creating machine-learning algorithms that work for all users
Can you describe the 'NextMind' technology in a few words?
At NextMind we are making Brain-Computer Interfaces that allow almost anyone to control digital interfaces in real time using their visual focus. We released our first product, the NextMind Dev Kit, to enable users all around the world to experience using a BCI with our demo apps and use the SDK to create their own mind-enabled applications.
“The NextMind Dev Kit takes neurotech devices out of the lab and to the people in a desirable way.”
How do you see the future of brain/computer interfaces?
As we continue research and development, our ultimate goal is to decode more complex thoughts and visual imagination. As extended reality becomes more commonplace, our BCI will play a key role as its naturally adapted for interacting in virtual environments. And of course, we’d be remiss to not talk about the potential applications as Assistive technology. For people with limited mobility, being able to interact with the world using a BCI is very promising. Our BCI can be used across every aspect of our lives from entertainment, productivity, to assistive & medical applications. That’s why we provide chose to provide our tech as a platform for developers to create their own use cases.
You offer a Dev Kit What kind of applications are the developers working on?
The virtual, augmented, and extended reality community has been really engaged. They are always looking for the newest tech that will get us closer to the metaverse, and are amazed by the potential of our tech to transform interactions in virtual environments. We’ve also seen many prototypes from game developers. It feels really cool to play a game without any hands, and it’s easy to design games with our SDK since it uses the Unity 3D game engine. We’ve also seen use cases in IoT and some first explorations for use in assistive applications. We also develop custom applications for our B2B partnerships. Right now, we’re building the world’s first live electronic performance powered by a Brain-Computer Interface. We also have partnerships in the mobility, entertainment, and medical industries.
What risks and opportunities do you identify for the development of NextMind ?
Our purpose at NextMind is to make BCIs accessible to the world. We see the NextMind Dev Kit as a proof of advancement for our industry because it takes neurotech devices out of the lab and to the people in a desirable way. We did this by solving two big challenges in the neurotech industry: designing an easy-to-use, non-invasive brain-sensing wearable and creating machine-learning algorithms that work for all users. We believe that a high-performing noninvasive BCI can drive adoption for the masses. To continue on this path, we will further miniaturize the hardware and keeping improving algorithms until we get to the speed of thought. Besides our rich R&D roadmap, it raises an ethical question we take very seriously: brain data ethics. With the NextMind Dev Kit the neural data is fully encrypted and only processed on the user’s personal computer. They can opt-in (or out) at any time to share their data with us in order to improve our research, all of which is in full compliance with GDPR. Our goal is limited to improving the machine learning algorithms that run our BCI so all users can have an improved experience. We do not link user sessions with any personal information.