The Galea multi-model sensor system, when combined with an AR or VR headset, will be deployable across healthcare, research and entertainment
➨ OpenBCI, developer of Galea, an add-on for VR and AR headsets that measures biometrics including brain activity, has raised institutional investment for the first time
➨ BITKRAFT Ventures, re.Mind and NaHCO3 supplied the funding
➨ Galea is scheduled for beta release in early 2022
Neurotechnology company OpenBCI, developer of Galea, an add-on for virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) headsets that measures the user’s heart, skin, muscles, eyes, and brain, has raised institutional investment for the first time.
Although the funding amount was undisclosed at the time of writing, OpenBCI has secured investor support from BITKRAFT Ventures, re.Mind and NaHCO3, the family office of Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill, for Galea, scheduled for beta release in early 2022.
Galea is being developed in collaboration with Tobii and Valve, which could also potentially be supplying next-generation hand tracking technology and an as-yet unconfirmed headset, respectively (although the device is pictured here with a Valve Index).
OpenBCI, described earlier this year as an advanced technology company that provides an open-source platform for applications related to brain-computer interfacing, launched in 2014 and has, according to information shared with the press, been profitable since its inception.
Products such as the Ganglion, Cyton, and Ultracortex are used in more than 90 countries by a growing community of scientists, developers, educators, and increasingly, by innovation departments of major technology companies, according to OpenBCI.
The Galea multi-model sensor system, when combined with an AR or VR headset, will be deployable across healthcare, research, and entertainment—all areas where biometrics are in huge demand.
Galea’s beta programme has already received significant interest from applicants spanning consumer technology, healthcare, research, training, and gaming and media, OpenBCI says.
Pre-orders for Galea beta units will be opened to select applicants in early 2022. The beta package also includes software development kits for bringing sensor data into common development environments and examples for how to create immersive content tailored to an individual’s reactions.
The new funding will be used to scale OpenBCI team and prepare Galea for sale.
Commenting on the new investment and Galea VR and AR add-on, OpenBCI chief executive officer Conor Russomanno says: “The next generation of computers will be highly-personalised based on data collected from sensors like the ones in Galea.”
“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’.”
Moritz Baier-Lentz, partner at BITKRAFT Ventures, is enthusiastic about Galea’s potential as a “breakthrough innovation for a variety of industries”.
Baier-Lentz continues: “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.”
He adds: “Until then, developers will be able to build more immersive, customised, 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 calibre 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.”