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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Neurotechnology
Posted: July 12, 2017 at 12:38 pm
Neurotechnology: 5 braincomputer interface innovations - Red Bull
Meet five main players in the race to connect computers directly to your brain using everything from high-tech headbands to tiny implantable chips. Long before ...
Posted: July 11, 2017 at 10:18 pm
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to expand neurotechnology capabilities and create a high-resolution neural interface. The agency announced it is awarding contracts to five research organizations and one company as part of its Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program.
DARPA announced NESD in January of 2016. The program was created to provide a connection between the brain and digital world.
DARPA has invested hundreds of millions of dollars transitioning neuroscience into neurotechnology with a series of cumulatively more advanced research programs that expand the frontiers of what is possible in this enormously difficult domain. Weve laid the groundwork for a future in which advanced brain interface technologies will transform how people live and work, and the agency will continue to operate at the forward edge of this space to understand how national security might be affected as new players and even more powerful technologies emerge, Justin Sanchez, director of DARPAs Biological Technologies Office.
The contracts will go to: Brown University; Columbia University; Fondation Voir et Entendre (The Seeing and Hearing Foundation); John B. Pierce Laboratory; Paradromics, Inc.; and the University of California, Berkeley.
The organizations will form teams dedicated to creating working systems that support sensory restoration world. According to the agency, four of the teams will focus on vision while two will focus on hearing and speech.
Significant technical challenges lie ahead, but the teams we assembled have formulated feasible plans to deliver coordinated breakthroughs across a range of disciplines and integrate those efforts into end-to-end systems, said Phillip Alvelda, the founding NESD program manager.
The programs first year will focus on breakthroughs in hardware, software, and neuroscience. The second phase of the program will look into properly testing newly developed devices. Achieving the programs ambitious goals and ensuring that the envisioned devices will have the potential to be practical outside of a research setting will require integrated breakthroughs across numerous disciplines including neuroscience, synthetic biology, low-power electronics, photonics, medical device packaging and manufacturing, systems engineering, and clinical testing, according to NESDs website.
Posted: at 10:18 pm
3D printing is an exciting technology in its own right, but, as it works today, it is normally used to fabricate individual components and not functional objects. At most, hundreds of parts in an assembly can be consolidated into a single 3D-printed item, but that item still cannot function on its own.
Progress is being made to change additive manufacturing (AM) technology into something even more powerful, however. In the future, it may be possible to fabricate complete functional objects in a single manufacturing process. Think of it: your smartphone could be produced in one piece in one automatic process.
One company has demonstrated a possible route to that ideal future. Using a unique ultrasonic technique, Neurotechnology, based out of Lithuania, may be able to 3D print a wide variety of objects, including circuits. ENGINEERING.com spoke to Osvaldas Putkis, research engineer and project lead for the companys Ultrasound Research Group, to learn more.
Neurotechnology is focused on developing algorithms and software for biometric applications, such as fingerprint, face, eye and voice recognition. Since launching its first fingerprint identification system in 1991, Neurotechnology has begun exploring other technologies, beginning research into artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision and autonomous robotics in 2004.
While Neurotechnologys core business is in the fields of biometry, computer vision and AI, it is always looking for opportunities to research and develop new technologies that sometimes can be outside the main companys focus, Putkis said. Ultrasonic manipulation seemed an exciting research area with an unused potential and, with the hiring of key personnel who have expertise in ultrasound, an Ultrasound Research Group was created three years ago.
Ultrasonic manipulation? No, its not a sleazy method for picking up strangers at a bar from the dirt bags that brought you those pickup artist guides. It involves using ultrasonic waves to grab and move objects.
A rendering of Neurotechnologys ultrasonic manipulation technique. (Image courtesy of Neurotechnology/YouTube.)
Typically, according to Putkis, most of the research and development in ultrasonic manipulation has been dedicated to liquid media for for cell sorting, cell patterning, [and] single cell manipulation. Applied research on manipulation in air, Putkis said, concentrates on container-less processing and analysis of chemical substances by levitating the samples.
After establishing the Ultrasound Research Group in 2014, the company developed a working prototype, finally releasing footage of its ultrasonic manipulation technique this past June. The process uses a computer with computer vision and an array of ultrasonic transducers, each of which can be controlled individually to grab, move and rotate components by changing the ultrasonic waves they emit.
In the demonstration video embedded above, the system has been set up to position and solder electronic components on a printed circuit board (PCB). Soldering is performed using an onboard laser that fuses the pieces onto the PCB, and is guided by the vision system. Altogether, there is no physical contact made with the objects being moved and soldered, opening up a number of possibilities.
Neurotechnologys ultrasonic manipulation prototype 3D printer. (Image courtesy of Neurotechnology/YouTube.)
"Ultrasonic manipulation can handle a very large range of different materials, including metals, plastics and even liquids," Putkis said."Not only can it manipulate material particles, it can also handle components of various shapes. Other noncontact methods, like the ones based on magnetic or electrostatic forces, can't offer such versatility."
This range of material manipulation, not seen with other technologies like magnetic or electrostatic techniques, means that the technology can print with elements that have a variety of shapes and mechanical properties. This includes liquids, such as conductive ink, and solids, like electronic components. These elements can range from a couple of millimeters in size to submillimeter particles. And ultrasonic manipulation can do this without causing any damage to the elements or introducing electrostatic forces into the process.
Ultrasonic manipulation can control a wide variety of substances, shapes and sizes. (Images courtesy of Neurotechnology/YouTube.)
By altering the ultrasonic profile of the process, the precision of object movement and placement can become highly refined. With ultrasonic waves of 40 kHz, its possible to attain accuracies of within tens of microns. Even higher frequencies result in even more precise movement.
Putkis explained that there may be weight restrictions with the ultrasonic transducers, but that this may not always be the case when the density of the elements is taken into consideration. [Pa]rticle dimensions should be in a sub-wavelength region of the ultrasonic waves used, Putkis said. In terms of weight, it is usually the density of the material that is the determining factor. You will need to create very similar pressure amplitude in order to levitate a 1-millimeter diameter or a 2-millimeter diameter plastic sphere. While the gravity force is bigger for a larger sphere, a larger sphere also has a larger surface area, increasing pressure force respectively. With our semisphere levitator shown in the video, we can levitate materials as dense as solder metal (approx. 8000 kg/m3).
The technology is also already fairly automated. The camera is capable of determining the PCBs position and orientation, making it possible to know where a component should be positioned. The circuits used in the companys demonstration are not overly complex and do not have many elements. Therefore, the trajectories can easily be calculated, according to Putkis.
Neurotechnology has already filed a patent for the technology and is continuing to develop its capabilities. At the moment, the system can only assemble simple electronics, so the Ultrasound Research Group intends to expand the platform.
[O]ur plans now are to develop and demonstrate capabilities of the technology to print/deposit other materials or components, Putkis explained. As our main expertise is in ultrasound, we are willing to cooperate with companies from the 3D printing industry in order to incorporate the technology in 3D printing systems.
If we are successful in adding the capability of printing plastics and improving the current prototype for electronic assembly, it would already be a powerful printer that can print some of the electronic devices, Putkis added. Another application could be to use ultrasonic manipulation just for component handling and integrate it to existing printing technologies of plastics or metal, in this way also creating a more universal printer.
To make the platform as flexible as possible, Putkis noted one specific challenge. The biggest challenges are finding methods for dispensing and soldering material and components that can work for a wide range of different components and materials in order to make full use of the handling versatility of ultrasonic manipulation, he said.
It would be interesting to see Neurotechnology partner with 3D printing companies already focused on electronics 3D printing. Two immediately come to mind: Voxel8 and Nano Dimension. Voxel8 has developed a fused deposition modeling desktop 3D printer that is capable of printing plastic parts with conductive silver ink traces, making it possible to manually embed electronic components to create functional objects. Nano Dimension, in contrast, relies on an inkjet printhead and photocurable resin to produce PCBs.
In both cases, electronic components must be manually inserted. Its not impossible to imagine incorporating an array of ultrasonic transducers into either platform in order to automatically move the components throughout the printbed as the fabrication process is taking place.
Facebook also recently scooped up a company, Nascent Objects, that was using EnvisionTECs digital light processing technology to 3D print functional electronic goods. Although we havent heard from the company in some time, the acquisition is an indicator that this field is a potentially highly valuable one. We may still be years away from being able to 3D print a complete cell phone in a single printing process, but even the steps along the way will be exciting ones, as Putkiss research shows.
To learn more about Neurotechnology, visit the company website.
Posted: July 10, 2017 at 8:26 pm
A clinical trial has found that HIRREM [high-resolution, relational, resonance based, electroencephalic mirroring] closed-loop neurotechnology is more effective than placebo at reducing symptoms of insomnia and has additional benefits for heart rate and blood pressure regulation. Findings were presented in Boston at SLEEP 2017.
Developed by Brain State Technologies (BST), HIRREM is a noninvasive acoustic stimulation neurotechnology that applies software algorithms for real-time analysis of critical brain frequencies. The algorithms guide production of changing sequences of audible tones, which support brain oscillations to re-organize toward more optimal patterns of symmetry and frequency ratios.
The 3-year study enrolled 107 adults with insomnia and randomly assigned them to receive 10sessions of either HIRREM or a placebo intervention, which consisted of tones produced by a random generator. Subjects were blinded to their group assignment, and they received equal levels of social interaction during the 2-week treatment period. The trial was conducted at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Department of Neurology (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), by Charles Tegeler, MD.
At the predetermined endpoint 2months after their sessions, those who received HIRREM reported significantly greater reduction in insomnia symptoms than those who received placebo. Moreover, the HIRREM group showed marked improvements in heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity, whereas the placebo group showed no physiological changes. Ninety-four percent of the enrolled subjects completed all sessions and follow-up visits as scheduled, and there were no adverse events in either group.
Lee Gerdes, founder and CEO of BST, says in a release, We are thrilled that our noninvasive strategy showed highly practical benefits, in an easily tolerable way without side effects, for a problem that affects up to half the US population. He further notes that Brain State Technologies is continuing innovations on HIRREM and other products for well-being, above and beyond the methodology evaluated in this study.
According to Sung Lee, MD, MSc, director of research at BST, The brain is the organ of central command. This study shows that HIRREM benefits sleep, and also helps the brain to fine tune its regulation of heart rate and blood pressure in response to changing stress levels. He says closed-loop neural interventions such as HIRREM have the advantage of precision-guidance based on real-time physiological dynamics, in contrast to reliance on symptom changes or clinical assessments.
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Posted: July 5, 2017 at 11:19 pm
NIT started with a clean slate, asking a simple question: How can neurotech companies pioneer these innovations in todays medtech world? The result? Neurotech development, completely reimagined.
NIT is a cutting-edge translational center--a private, for-profit company, formed in collaboration with over a dozen Partners, with a mission to develop and commercialize pioneering neurotechnology solutions to improve patient well-being.Built with the vision of developing a select number of high-quality, commercially-oriented companies, NIT brings together the vision, leadership, expertise,network, resources, personnel and capital to create the pre-eminent development ecosystem in the compelling frontier of neuroscience. NIT's translational approach substantially reduces risk and required capital for companies and their investors by accelerating the development cycle, avoiding pitfalls, and propelling companies through development to commercial success.NIT will create or attract multiple companies sourced from a global pipeline of innovation.Whether an idea on a napkin, or a more mature neurotech company that is further along in the development pathway, NIT will invest in, and engage with, a select number of attractive neurotechnology companies that will benefit from NITs resources and model to accelerate their success.
NIT is not an incubator; not a venture capital firm; not a contract manufacturing house; not a clinical trialing organization...per se.Instead, NIT brings the best of what each of these other entities has tried to deliver, comprehensively, under one translational center, borrowing their best attributes, but transforming them into an entity that provides a cocoon for your companys success in todays challenging landscape.The result: far more than just capital or seasoned advice--a comprehensive solution, providing the expertise, resources, and capital to propel your company from concept-to-clinic, and subsequently to commercial success.
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Mind-blowing ultrasonic ‘printer’ uses lasers and high-frequency sound to assemble electronics – Digital Trends
Posted: July 1, 2017 at 9:22 am
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Why it matters to you
Ultrasonic assembly device would change what we think of as a 3D printer -- and make additive manufacturing far more versatile in the process.
Neurotechnology, a Lithuanian software development company, wants to rethink 3D printing using ultrasonic particle manipulation. That might sound pretty far-out and futuristic but with that goal in mind, the company has developed a radically new kind of printer, capable of printing just about anything you can imagine.
According to its creators, this technology could enable even something as complex as a smartphone to be 3D printed using a single machine: right from the outer casing to the printed electronic circuit boards that make it run.As well as your standard metals and plastics, it can also manipulate liquids with precision.
The apparatus uses an array of ultrasonic transducers that emit ultrasonic waves, lead researcher Osvaldas Putkis told Digital Trends. By having individual control of each transducer, it is possible to create desired pressure profiles that can trap, rotate and move particles and components without touch. The non-contact nature of ultrasonic manipulation offers a few important advantages when compared to mechanical handling. It can handle a wide range of materials having very different mechanical properties, from plastics and metals down to even liquids. It can [also] handle sensitive materials and small components, avoiding the parasitic electrostatic forces.
The physics behind the machine are pretty darn complex. However, if it works as well as the demo seen in the above video, you should be able to manipulate a wide range of particles in such a way that your created object forms together like a reassembling liquid metal T-100 from Terminator II. The company claims that its accuracy in moving objects is in the range of just a few microns.
At present, Putkis says his team has developed an early prototype, capable of assembling simple electronic circuits on a printed circuit board. To do this, it employs non-contact ultrasonic manipulation technology for positioning of the different electronic components, as well as a laser to solder them in place. To coordinate the process, calibrate the laser, and detect the various components, it uses an on-board camera.
At this stage it is very hard to say when such printer will be available as an end-user product as there still needs a lot of research and development to be done, Putkis said. We are seeking partnerships that could potentially help speed up the developments and application of this printing method.
In other words, it could be a bit of a wait until youre printing off the new iPhone at home, rather than queuing to pick one up from your local Apple store. If Neurotechnologys research pays off, though, this could be a serious game-changer even in an industry thats bursting at the seams with high-quality 3D printers.
Originally posted here:
Posted: June 30, 2017 at 12:24 am
Earlier this week, we heard about a new 3D printing method based on ultrasonic manipulation technology. Lithuanian company Neurotechnologys Ultrasound Research Group is led by research engineer Dr. Osvaldas Putkis, who in a video introduced their new method with a prototype machine.
Dr. Putkis shows off different components of the machine, which includes an ultrasonic array, mounted camera, and laser. At a glance it looks like a desktop 3D printer, but this is no extrusion-based technology. The proof of concept demonstrated is a non-contact assembly of a printed circuit board (PCB) which itself isnt so much 3D printed as it is put together but this initial showing is not all that Neurotechnology has up its research sleeves.
Below is Dr. Putkis introduction to ultrasonic manipulation technology, with a look at the prototype machine and its capability in non-contact creation:
So what are they planning? Dr. Putkis answers A Few Questions For us to fill us in more about this patent-pending technology.
What inspired work with ultrasonic manipulation technology for use with 3D printing technology?
We were intrigued by the versatility of ultrasonic manipulation. As it is a non-contact handling method, it is possible to manipulate materials and components that have very different mechanical properties and shapes, not to mention its ability to handle small or sensitive components. We saw the opportunity to use this technology to build a universal ultrasonic gripper that would improve 3D printing technology.
What can you tell us about the new 3D printing technology?
The new technology will employ ultrasonic manipulation for positioning various components (such as electronic components) and/or depositing material (such as plastics). This will enable the development of more general and versatile printers, that are capable of, say, printing whole electronic devices.
How does 3D printing incorporating ultrasonic technology compare with existing 3D printing techniques?
Current 3D printing techniques can only print the particular material they are designed for. We believe that ultrasonic manipulation technology will enable the creation of printers that can not only deposit certain materials but also assemble electronic circuits or deposit a wide range of materials. In other words, it would add versatility to the 3D printers. However, things like printing speed, component welding and dispensing approaches need to be addressed and researched before such a technology could be applied in the 3D printing process.
Dr. Osvaldas Putkis
What have you created using this method so far? What kinds of applications will this extend to?
We have built an early prototype that can assemble simple electronic circuits. An array of ultrasonic transducers is used for non-contact transportation and positioning of electronic components and a laser is used to solder those components to a PCB board, also in a non-contact way. An on-board camera is used to coordinate the whole process, detect the PCB and component positions, calibrate the laser, etc. Currently, the prototype is a technology-demonstrator and can only handle components that are not smaller than approx 0.5mm. However, if higher frequency ultrasonic waves would be used, even the smallest electronic components could be manipulated. This is a challenge for pick-and-place machines and will probably become an even a bigger issue as the size of electronic components continues to shrink in the future. However, if we want to create a more general printer, we still need to implement the deposition process of other materials or components.
Will this technology eventually be commercialized?
There is still a lot of research and development to be done before this technology will find its way to end-user products. We are seeking partnerships that would help speed up the development and commercialization of this technology.
As partnerships remain a key path forward for many in the 3D printing industry, well be interested to follow along with any future collaborations that move ultrasonic manipulation further into 3D printing. Share your thoughts in the Neurotechnology forum at 3DPB.com.
Neurotechnology Develops 3D Printing Method with Non-Contact Ultrasonic Manipulation Technology – 3DPrint.com
Posted: June 26, 2017 at 5:25 pm
If youve ever had the feeling that everything you touch turns to, ah, the opposite of gold, a newly developed 3D printing technology emerging from Lithuania might just be the one for you. The Ultrasound Research Group at Neurotechnology has announced a new 3D printing method using ultrasonic manipulation technology thats totally hands-off. Its not just human hands either; the new method has totally non-contact tech behind it, allowing for the manipulation of parts and particles, down to the submillimeter range, without causing damage to sensitive components.
Ultrasonic manipulation can handle a very large range of different materials, including metals, plastics and even liquids. Not only can it manipulate material particles, it can also handle components of various shapes. Other non-contact methods, like the ones based on magnetic or electrostatic forces, cant offer such versatility, explained research engineerDr. Osvaldas Putkis, project lead for Neurotechnologys Ultrasound Research Group.
Neurotechnology is a Vilnius-based company, founded in 1990 under the name Neurotechnologija, that released its first technology a fingerprint identification system in 1991 and has been developing and updating new technologies since, having released more than 130 products and version upgrades throughout its history, including work with 3D modeling. The companys Ultrasound Research Group began work in developing ultrasonic 3D printing products in 2014, and today announced its new technology, which according to the company is set to enable 3D printing and assembly of almost any type of object using a wide range of different materials and components.
Dr. Osvaldas Putkis with the prototype 3D printer
If youre thinking that it sounds like a good idea to bring sound into 3D printing, you (and Neurotechnology) are not alone; Fabrisonic incorporates sound waves into its patented metal 3D printing process, welding layers together via Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) in a hybrid subtractive/additive manufacturing process. Sound waves have additionally been incorporated into more artistic endeavors, as Dutch artists brought vibrations into 3D printed clay creations and 3D printing came into play with work in acoustic manipulation.
Because the work from the Ultrasound Research Group represents a new technological application, Neurotechnology has filed a patent on their system. Neurotechnology describes ultrasonic manipulation as a non-contact material handling method which uses ultrasonic waves to trap and move small particles and components.
The company has shared a video to demonstrate the hands-off capabilities allowed for via ultrasonic manipulation, as their prototype printer can assemble a simple printed circuit board (PCB):
Ultrasonic transducers are arranged in this demonstration in an array used to position electronic components in the creation of a PCB, utilizing a camera to detect accurate positioning. Continuing on with the hands-off theme, a laser solders the PCB components after their non-contact manipulation into placement.
The prototype 3D printer
Important components to the system as described include the ultrasonic array, camera, and soldering laser:
Curious about what Neurotechnology is working on? We are, too, and well be hearing directly from the company with additional details and insights into their new ultrasonic-based 3D printing technology soon.
We do know now that the companys 3D printing apparatus and method of ultrasonic manipulation are patent pending, and that Neurotechnology is looking to collaborate with interested companies toward furthering the development of and applications for the new technology.
3D printing and PCB manufacture are increasingly coming together, as advanced technologies benefit the creation of devices in electronics, including via 3D printed workstations for PCBs. The 3D printer we hear about most often in conjunction with PCBs is of course the DragonFly 2020 from Nano Dimension, which creates, not just assembles, PCBs but they are by no means the only 3D printing player in the electronics space, as others are also looking to change things up and offer additional options in this growing application. As Neurotechnology notes that their method works with all kinds of materials, we can expect to see additional applications beyond PCB assembly, and look forward to sharing more details soon regarding the development and capabilities of their as-yet-unnamed 3D printing technology.
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Posted: June 23, 2017 at 6:25 am
June 22, 2017-
Neurotechnology has announced the availability of MegaMatcher 10, the latest update to the MegaMatcher multi-biometric product line.
MegaMatcher 10 provides a number of significant updates across the MegaMatcher line, which includes: MegaMatcher SDK, a multi-biometric SDK for large scale systems; MegaMatcher Accelerator biometric matching engine, and; the MegaMatcher ABIS turnkey solution. Each biometric modality can be used alone or in any combination to provide to meet the needs of small and large-scale biometric identification projects.
This version provides increased accuracy in multiple biometric modalities, as confirmed by third-party independent tests, explained Dr. Justas Kranauskas, R&D manager for Neurotechnology. Together with the fastest biometric engine algorithms and great standards support, these updates enable our clients to create better products in every respect.
The MegaMatcher 10 update also includes a new version of the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS).
Earlier this month Neurotechnology added a new Extreme edition to its MegaMatcher Accelerator solution.
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Neurotechnology adds face recognition, tracking to video surveillance systems; researchers win competition – Biometric Update
Posted: at 6:25 am
June 19, 2017-
Neurotechnology has released SentiVeillance Server, a ready-to-use solution that integrates with surveillance video management systems (VMS).
SentiVeillance Server is based on the companys deep neural network technology for facial recognition from surveillance camera video, giving a VMS advanced capabilities, including the ability to quickly and accurately recognize faces in video streams and trigger analytical event notifications whenever the system detects an authorized, unauthorized or unknown individual.
The new capabilities significantly improves the workflow of VMS operators so that they can quickly respond to evolving situations and easily view video of past events as well as filter them by gender, age or person ID.
SentiVeillance Server enables advanced analytics in many video management systems where it was too complex or too expensive before, said Aurimas Juska, Neurotechnology software development team lead. Users can benefit from an enhanced surveillance system with only a small amount of configuration and no need for programming.
The solution supports a range of video management systems including Milestone XProtect VMS and Luxriot Evo, Evo S and Evo Global.
SentiVeillance Server can process in real time up to 10 video streams from multiple video management systems.
The solution is equipped with Neurotechnologys latest deep neural-network-based facial detection and recognition algorithm which greatly improves identification accuracy and speed.
The technology is included in other Neurotechnology products including the VeriLook and MegaMatcher software development kits (SDK), which have millions of deployments worldwide.
In addition, the SentiVeillance SDK allows developers to create solutions using facial identification and object recognition from surveillance video.
In a separate announcement, Neurotechnology revealed that the companys deep neural network researchers won first place in a Kaggle competition that sought AI solutions for fisheries monitoring.
For their winning solution in The Nature Conservancy Fisheries Monitoring competition, the team of researchers won a first place prize of $50,000.
The team beat out the competing 2,292 submitted algorithms for the identification of fish and other marine species from video streams. The algorithms were evaluated based on an unseen test set that mimicked a real-life scenario.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices are degrading marine ecosystems, global seafood supplies and local livelihoods, according to The Nature Conservancy.
The Neurotechnology employees, which entered the competition independently under the name Towards Robust-Optimal Learning of Learning, used advanced deep neural networks to solve this issue.
The Fisheries Monitoring competition was one of the biggest competitions for Kaggle, a learning, sharing and development site for data, code, research and process.
This was one of the first Kaggle competitions that was comprised of two stages, which means that models developed during the first stage were frozen and evaluated on unseen data that was made available during the second stage, said Gediminas Peksys from the Towards Robust Optimal Learning of Learning team. In such a setting, it is very easy for a teams models to overfit the data by using too many trainable parameters. We were able to utilize our teams experience using deep neural networks to come up with a robust model that performed a lot closer to the original estimate from stage one and generalized in a predictable manner on unseen data.
Previously reported, Neurotechnology added a new Extreme edition to its MegaMatcher Accelerator line of multi-biometric identification solutions for national-scale projects.
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