NexStem aims to develop state-of-the-art BCI solutions that will allow us to transcend our biological limits.
A couple of weeks ago we launched our new Neurotech report; to follow this up, we have been showcasing dynamic and innovative companies which we feel are driving this exciting space – our trailblazers.
We’ve looked at eight interesting companies so far, with each profile including a flagship product deep dive which offers a forensic consideration of product development, efficacy, target market, channels to market, success factors, IP and funding.
Last, but by no means least, is our ninth and final trailblazer NexStem. And to read the full version of NexStem’s profile (and much more besides!) in our HTML neurotech report please click here.NexStem
NexStem, founded in 2020, focuses on the development and widespread application of state-of-the-art BCI solutions that are affordable and accessible to all. NexStem’s aim is to empower individuals to transcend their biological limits through sophisticated, yet innovative solutions.
For a long time, human evolution has been under the influence of nature and nature alone, however with recent advancements in the field of technology and the implementation of AI technology, it is becoming possible to continue human evolution by unlocking the mystery of the brain. NexStem aims to fully unlock the mind’s potential and redefine what it means to be human by bridging the gap between man and machine through their key product, the NexStem headset. The NexStem headset is an EEG recording device that is capable of recording brainwave signals from the surface of the skull, which can be used to interpret the underlying brain state of their users.
The development of an EEG solution that can be translated from a clinical setting to the consumer domain has been the major challenge in the development of EEG-based BCI devices, as most consumer-grade headsets lack the technical prowess of research-grade equipment. Developing EEG devices that are user-friendly, affordable for widescale access, and can cope with both the complexity and volume of EEG data has limited most consumer-grade devices from truly adding value to consumers’ lives.
NexStem has addressed many of these issues through its hardware and signature software development kit (SDK) to create solutions that can be applied across a wide range of health and wellbeing applications. NexStem has also been developing its solutions by leveraging its unique headset and platform, including transforming its headset into a communication device for non-verbal patients. Through accruing a large amount of brainwave data, NexStem hopes to eventually recreate a digital twin of the user’s brain.
Growing up, Deepansh Goyal and Siddhant Dangi, the founders of NexStem, had seen several amputees all making use of cumbersome prosthetics manipulated with strings that were often tied to the person’s chest. The idea was short lived as their use was not user-friendly. Dangi quickly realised that there were, in fact, prosthetics available which used EMG signals; however, they were expensive, the signals’ acquisition was exceptionally slow, and the user experience was poor. The next logical step was to head to the signals’ source – the brain. This is how the idea of NexStem was born.
NexStem’s first device? A prosthetic arm controlled by a person’s thoughts.
NexStem’s first proof of concept was simplistic. If the person focused, the arm would close and when they stopped focusing, the arm would open back up. The second version took the idea to the next level and was centered around creating more control of finer motor skills. When the user thought “left,” the index finger would go up, and if they thought “right,” the middle finger would go up; when they clenched their jaw, the arm would reset, and if they moved their tongues, then the complete hand would open or close depending on how it was set up.
Since these early products, NexStem has grown and advanced their products extensively. Today, NexStem develops superior software solutions that can translate EEG signals at the highest quality and provide this as the premise to develop BCI solutions that are controlled simply with one’s thoughts. In short, the human brain becomes a part of the Internet, inserting the human into the Metaverse.
Going forward NexStem hopes to continue to improve its headset to expand its application in the consumer domain with the hope that eventually the headset will gain the efficacy and accuracy of a medical device that can be used within the clinical domain.
The NexStem headset is a 16-channel EEG device that measures brainwave signals across the skull, ranging from the prefrontal cortex to the occipital lobe, providing complete coverage of cortical brain activity. Their headset design is user-centric, and designed with every day, extended use in mind. It is a lightweight product, lined with padding and memory foam to ensure user comfort throughout the day. The headset also uses dry EEG electrodes, that are polymer-based ensuring that they are soft and do not dig into the skull; compared to (more common) wet-EEG electrodes often utilised in clinical EEG devices. With such a solution, NexStem hopes that users will be more inclined to wear their headsets for extended periods, hence leading to a larger volume of collected data.
NexStem Wisdom is a software development kit (SKD) that complements the high-performance hardware manufactured by NexStem. The NexStem Wisdom SDK is a tool that consists of pre-trained high accuracy Machine Learning (ML) models that can be used to analyse a variety of bio signals in a single platform.
A unique feature of the Wisdom SDK is that algorithms can be developed on the platform through a drag-and-drop feature that facilitates the development of novel solutions without writing a single line of code. This feature is intended to allow neuroscience researchers to develop and test solutions, thereby fostering continuous innovation on the device. Other devices on the market provide SDK, however, they often require developers to write their own code, limiting the target audience to developers with sufficient coding experience and expertise. NexStem’s drag-and-drop feature opens the definition of “developer” to include any individual/researcher and ensures a high degree of fidelity between the researcher’s hypothesis and the final, executed algorithm.
NexStem has invested in providing high degrees of signal processing quality by developing Hardware and Software filters which can reduce the amount of noisy data often produced by EEG recordings, and therefore enhance the recorded biological signal. Overall, this is meant to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and, as well as the predictive power of the machine learning algorithms developed. Overall, NexStem’s algorithms will allow the prediction of relevant information based on a user’s unique state of mind (and thoughts).
NexStem is currently working on developing a Communication Device for non-verbal patients affected by Cerebral Palsy. The product aims to address communication issues for the ~ 250,000 (annual numbers) of non-verbal patients in the US today.
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