Brain-computer interface technology meets AR as Cognixion lands $12 million
➨ Neural interface startup Cognixion has raised $12 million in seed funding to continue development of its wireless brain-computer interface and AR headset
➨ Prime Movers Lab led the seed round, with co-investors Northwell Health, Amazon Alexa Fund and Volta Circle
➨ Cognixion ONE is designed to open up digital technologies for users with motor and speech disabilities, but its creators and backers also believe it could contribute to the development of the metaverse
➨ With this in mind, Cognixion confirms headset users will be able to interface directly with Amazon Alexa from anywhere
Neural interface startup Cognixion has raised $12 million in seed funding to continue development of its wireless brain-computer interface and augmented reality (AR) headset.
Prime Movers Lab led the Santa Barbara, California, USA-based startup’s seed round, with co-investors Northwell Health, Amazon Alexa Fund and Volta Circle.
Cognixion intends to use the seed funding to develop new adaptive interfaces for Cognixion ONE that make the headset easier to use for any user.
This is the company’s modus operandi, to make digital technologies much more accessible than they currently are.
The means, Cognixion ONE, is a smartphone-assisted mobile headset that stimulates the brain via brain-computer interface technology and reads its activity while sending control signals back to a custom-built AR app and integrated display.
Underpinning the headset are advanced machine learning algorithms and an artificial intelligence-powered language system that adapts to unique communication styles and makes it more efficient at recognising and anticipating what a user intends to communicate, according to Cognixion.
And this is where the seed funding will be channelled, to open up digital technologies via Cognixion ONE and enable users, particularly those with motor and speech disabilities, to access them.
The participation of Amazon Alexa Fund in the seed round comes as Cognixion confirms that headset users will be able to interface directly with Amazon Alexa from anywhere, accessing the smart assistant’s functions within the headset to interact with their environment and control smart devices, or access news, music, information, and more.
Commenting on the seed funding round, Andreas Forsland, founder and chief executive officer of Cognixion, emphasises his company’s focus on inclusivity and universal accessibility: “We believe that technology should be inclusive and universally accessible to every individual, and everyone deserves a solution that can adapt to their needs—and that it’s possible to build ONE solution that can be personalised for communication, information access, interacting with smart devices, and everything else life has to offer.”
Forsland gave VRWorldTech the insider’s view of Cognixion ONE earlier this year, indicating that the new headset will be commercially available in 2022. The company is currently hiring for a range of roles and is interested in receiving expressions of interest about pre-orders.
‘A fundamental part of the metaverse’
As the lead investor in the seed round, Prime Movers Lab is also providing support with hiring, marketing, government relations and building a pipeline of prospective customers, according to Forsland, who describes the venture capital firm as an “extension of our team”.
Prime Movers Lab general partner Amy Kruse believes Cognixion ONE, when it launches, will be “a fundamentally life-changing and integral blend of an AI software platform with hardware to assist people of all ages who live with speech and motor disabilities”.
Kruse adds: “Further, we see the broader expansion of this platform to extend to all users to enrich life experiences, including: gaming, apps, the metaverse, and beyond.”
Forsland continues: “Cognixion is solving usability and accessibility issues for AR/XR (extended reality) and enabling new capabilities for people with disabilities today. And in the near future, we see our innovations becoming a fundamental part of the metaverse, as a biological interface plus highly adaptive algorithms that unlock new use cases for XR.”