OpenBCI raises funds for brain-computer interfaces for gaming and more

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OpenBCI has raised a round of funding to build neurotechnology that could be used for brain-computer interfaces for games, health, and more.

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based OpenBCI is using neurotechnology to reduce the barrier to entry for interfacing with signals generated by the brain and the body.

The investors include Bitkraft Ventures, re.Mind, and NaHCO3, the family office of Riot Games cofounder, Marc Merrill.

Founded in 2014, the bootstrapped company has been profitable since its inception, and this round represents the first financing of the company by institutional investors.

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OpenBCI’s transparent and accessible hardware and software have accelerated the advancement of the neurotechnology industry over the past seven years. Its products such as the Ganglion, Cyton, and Ultracortex, are used in over 90 countries by a growing community of scientists, developers, educators, and increasingly by innovation departments of major technology companies.

Above: Workers at OpenBCI assemble Galea devices.

Image Credit: OpenBCI

The investment will be used to scale the team and prepare Galea, OpenBCI’s latest product, for commercialization. Galea is the first device that simultaneously measures the user’s heart, skin, muscles, eyes, and brain. Designed as an add-on for virtual and augmented reality headsets, Galea’s multi-modal sensor network and integrated software dramatically simplify the process of collecting tightly-synchronized data from the body and unlock new techniques for objectively measuring user experiences and internal states of mind.

“The next generation of computers will be highly-personalized based on data collected from sensors like the ones in Galea,” said OpenBCI CEO Conor Russomanno, in a statement. “With Galea, we are looking to create a powerful platform for the companies, developers, and researchers who are already exploring how these signals will be integrated into everyday devices. Our ultimate goal for the next era of OpenBCI is to play a major part in the creation of the ‘Operating System of the Mind.’”

Galea’s beta program has already received significant interest from applicants spanning consumer technology, healthcare, research, training, gaming, and media.

Preorders for Galea beta units will be opened to select applicants in early 2022. The beta package also includes software development kits (SDKs) for bringing sensor data into development environments and examples for how to create highly immersive content tailored to an individual’s reactions.

“Galea is a breakthrough innovation for a variety of industries,” said Moritz Baier-Lentz, a partner at Bitkraft, in a statement. “From a gaming perspective, just as virtual and augmented reality headsets are starting to replace traditional screens, brain-computer interfaces like Galea will ultimately replace keyboards, mice, or controllers by directly translating thought and intent into game inputs.”

Above: OpenBCI’s Galea

Image Credit: OpenBCI

Baier-Lentz added, “Until then, developers will be able to build more immersive, customized, and engaging experiences by better understanding a player’s internal states of mind, emotional reactions, levels of concentration, sources of attention, cognitive workload, and many other valuable high-level metrics. This is the first time a technology of this caliber has been put into the commercial space, and we believe it is the beginning of a novel relationship with the virtual worlds that surround us.”

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