David Eagleman is a bit of a neuro-celebrity. You may know him from his best-selling books, as CEO of the company Neosensory, or perhaps from his PBS series,The Brain. He also happens to be a brilliant neuroscientist who conducts research on brain plasticity at Stanford.
Despite having about fifteen different jobs, Eagleman made time to check out Neurable’s headphones through a virtual demo. He reviewed our white paper ahead of the meeting and arrived eager to put our product to the test.
“I set out to validate the science behind the technology and to evaluate how close Neurable was to releasing a brain-computer interface (BCI) that measures and reports brain focus,” he says.
During the first part of the demo, Eagleman watched while a subject shifted from a task that demands relatively little attention to one that demands a lot of attention. During all this, a pair of Neurable headphones measured the subject’s brain activity and used this information to generate a focus score. Observing over Zoom, Eagleman noticed that the score increased when the subject switched to a high-attention task–indicating that the technology was working.
Next came the second, more interactive part of the demo. As the subject attempted to stay focused, Eagleman distracted him with a series of questions. The purpose of this exercise was not, of course, to torture the subject with distractions, but rather to show that Neurable’s headphones can detect the dips in focus that people experience in the real world. And, indeed, the focus score dropped following each distraction. This powerful demonstration, says Eagleman, confirmed the effectiveness of the product.
“The live demo convinced me that Neurable’s technology can measure focus from brain activity,” he says. “It seems plausible to me that this BCI can enhance a user's productivity by dynamically tracking their attention.”
Of course, Eagleman knows a thing or two about productivity. In addition to writing, researching, and appearing on TV, Eagleman serves on the board of directors for the American Brain Foundation, the Mind Science Foundation, and other prominent science organizations. Recognized globally for his work, Eagleman has been named a Goldman Sachs Innovator of the Year, a Claude Shannon Luminary by Bell Labs, and a Guggeinheim Fellow, among other honors. He is also the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer for BrainCheck, an app that assesses patients for dementia or concussion.
As a neurotech executive himself, Eagleman is well aware of the obstacles companies encounter on the road to product launch. And, he says, Neurable is navigating those obstacles handily.
“While there are many challenges inherent in releasing a consumer product–aesthetics, value proposition, performance, etc–it seems to me the Neurable team is sufficiently addressing these areas,” he says. “Neurable has succeeded in building an everyday BCI.”