What if Alexa could read your mind?


4 min read

article by Amit caesar


What if you could use your mind to communicate with Amazon Alexa? Users could do all of this and more with a new headset device that combines artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, and brain-computer interface technology.


 Cognixion, a neural interface startup based in Santa Barbara, California, recently raised $12 million in seed funding to develop AI-powered neural interfaces that unlock speech and smart home controls for the hundreds of millions of people with communication and physical disabilities around the world. The funding will help Cognixion develop new adaptive interfaces that make the assisted reality technology easier to use by everyone. Prime Movers Lab led the round with co-investors Northwell Health, Amazon Alexa Fund, and Volta Circle. 


What if you could talk to Amazon Alexa using your mind?

A new headset device using artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, and brain-computer interface technology could enable users to do that, and more.Santa Barbar, CA-based Cognixion, a neural interface startup, just raised $12 million in seed funding to develop AI-powered neural interfaces that unlock speech and smart home controls for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide with communication and physical disabilities. The funding will help Cognixion develop new adaptive interfaces that make the assisted reality technology easier to use by everyone. Prime Movers Lab led the round with co-investors Northwell Health, Amazon Alexa Fund, and Volta Circle. Cognixion's wireless brain-computer interface with an integrated augmented reality display, Cognixion ONE, detects the signals from the user's brainwaves associated with a visual fixation on interactive objects and enables hands-free, voice-free control of augmented reality and extended reality applications in the headset.


The device is also designed to work with leading research software, according to the company. Besides Cognixion ONE, the company said it's developing advanced machine learning algorithms and an AI-powered language system that adapts to each user's unique communication style, making it more efficient at recognizing and expecting what they're trying to say. Users of the Cognixion headset will interact directly with Amazon Alexa from anywhere, using the smart assistant's functions within the headset to interact with their environment and control smart devices, as well as access news, music, and information.



"Cognixion is solving usability and accessibility issues for [augmented reality and extended reality] today," said Andreas Forsland, the company's founder and CEO. "And we see our innovations becoming a fundamental part of the meta verse soon, as a biological interface combined with highly adaptive algorithms that unlock new use cases for [extended reality]," says the team.



"We believe that technology should be inclusive and universally accessible to everyone, and that everyone deserves a solution that can adapt to their needs–and that it is possible to build one solution that can be personalized for communication, information access, interacting with smart devices, and everything else life offers," said Forsland. Prime Movers Lab, the venture capital firm that led the seed round, is "an extension" of the Cognixion team, assisting the company with hiring, marketing, government relations, and building a pipeline of potential customers, according to him.


Why are venture capitalists putting their money into this high-tech augmented reality system?

Amy Kruse, a general partner at Prime Movers Lab, said, "Cognixion has created a breakthrough human-machine interface speeds up and enriches human communication and connection." "If Cognixion ONE didn't already exist, you'd think it was something out of science fiction. We believe it will be a 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, including cerebral palsy, brainstem stroke, ALS, and many other conditions. 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."Souhel Najjar, MD, senior vice president and executive director of Northwell Health's neurology service line, SVP and Executive Director of Northwell Health's Neurology Service Line, also praised the technology. 


"Cognixion ONE's combination of visual stimulation and EEG reading could profoundly change the means of communication for patients with physical and neurological impairments," Najjar said. "We look forward to collaborating with the Cognixion team as they develop this technology and assess its efficacy in addressing this significant challenge."Rich Mulry, president and CEO at Northwell Holdings & Ventures, said Northwell's investment and expertise will support Cognixion's expansion into healthcare provider markets.


What else is augmented reality used for in the medical field?

Through integrating computer vision, artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML), augmented reality, and robotics, Activ Surgical is developing a hardware-agnostic platform, including the Activ Insights augmented reality software suite, to enable autonomous and collaborative surgery. The company recently received $45 million in series B funding, bringing the total amount raised to $77 million. Activ Insights software suite, including the first Insight, an augmented reality overlay that displays tissue perfusion in real time without the use of traditional dyes, will benefit from the new funds, according to the company.


The funds will also support US commercialization, pursue a CE mark, improve the Activ n sights software platform, and develop the company's first machine learning-based insights. Even Medtronic is jumping on the augmented reality bandwagon in the med tech industry. The company announced in April that it would work with interface Surgical Theater to integrate its Sync AR augmented reality technology with Medtronic's Stealth Station S8 surgical navigation system. The collaboration aims to provide surgeons with a "augmented" view of complex cranial procedures.


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