“Kernel, the neurotech company founded by Bryan Johnson, just released a wave of new information about the technology they have been building over the past half-decade. With this announcement, we finally get a glimpse into the secretive company’s plans. We knew that they had ditched their intentions of pursuing invasive brain recording techniques, leaving that all to Neuralink, a similarly minded effort launched by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk. There were rumours of a NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy) based system, but nothing concrete … The vision Kernel outlined in their post is that of a multimodal recording system based on MEG (magnetoencephalography, a mouthful) and NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy). Both of these technologies are already available and widely used in research settings (and clinical settings too in the case of MEG). What’s new here is the package, miniaturization and ease of use. Far from trivial, these advances could allow both recordings modalities to move out of the lab and into more “ecological” settings (e.g. use during movement, daily activities, etc)…
It’s exciting to live in a time where neurotechnology receives so much attention and funding. One of the things extremely well-funded companies can achieve that researchers cannot (and have little incentive to), is building integrated and polished systems. Both the Neuralink and Kernel announcements have that in common: they take state-of-the-art research technologies and turn them into actual products … But there remains a long and windy road before this vision can become a reality for everyday consumers, and how easily these companies can sustain themselves until that day is still to be seen. Getting there will require more than streamlined and optimized versions of tools researchers already have. The science isn’t quite there yet, and some fundamental breakthroughs will need to happen before many of the promised sci-fi sounding application can see the light of day. The fancy tools Kernel and Neuralink are building will help get us there faster. Here’s to hoping they’ll have the patience to stick around and continue building them while Science meanders along its slow and steady path to the future.”
Kernel Announces Neuroscience as a Service (NaaS) Platform (press release):
“Kernel today announced the availability of its Neuroscience as a Service (NaaS) platform, which enables organizations to conduct scientifically rigorous studies more quickly and easily than ever before, using Kernel’s world-leading, non-invasive brain recording technology.
Just as mainframes became PCs, and the cost to sequence a human genome went from nearly $1 billion to under $1000, Kernel’s brain-recording and engineering breakthroughs will usher in a new era for neuroscience, psychiatry, and health and wellness by creating the opportunity to dramatically improve our understanding of the human brain and mind.
Kernel makes quantifiable, at a population-level scale previously impossible, what have until now been mostly qualitative efforts to understand, fix, and improve the brain and mind … “We can continuously measure and quantify almost everything in the universe except for our brains and minds,” said Bryan Johnson, Founder and CEO of Kernel. “The brain remains mostly a black box. Just as you can’t self-introspect to determine your cholesterol, much of the highest-value information about ourselves and each other sits outside our conscious awareness.”
The News in Context:
- New report: Empowering 8 Billion Minds via Ethical Development and Adoption of Neurotechnologies
- Infographic on the Digital Brain Health Market 2012–2020
- Five reasons the future of brain enhancement is digital, pervasive and (hopefully) bright
- Ten neurotechnologies about to transform brain enhancement & health
- 10 highlights from the 2019 SharpBrains Virtual Summit