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Brain Tech Meetup - Exploring Global Brain Tech Trends and Neuroscience Business Opportunities" was held on November 19, 2018 at dock-Toranomon, a co-working space in Toranomon, Tokyo, operated by Creww Inc. Brain Tech," "Neurotech," and "Neuroscience." With the recent development of science and technology, topics in the brain science field are being discussed in various media and business scenes. How will they be utilized, what kind of services and products will they be incorporated into, and how will they permeate our daily lives? In this event, we invited experts who are active in the forefront of neuroscience and this field to explore the possibilities of BrainTech.
■Lecture by Mr. Tatsunari Wakabayashi, President of neumo Inc.
In the first half of the event, Mr. Tatsunari Wakabayashi, president of neumo, Inc., which provides the latest information on neuroscience through research and reports on the latest CES and neuroscience conference presentations, academic papers, and research meetings, talked about the latest global trends in the BrainTech field.
At the beginning of the presentation, Mr. Wakabayashi said that the company's philosophy is "to maximize the potential of humankind (using neuroscience). He began by asking the audience, "Suddenly, how many hours do you all sleep?" He began his talk by asking the audience, "Suddenly, how many hours of sleep do you get?" He then began to talk about the field of neuroscience, starting with an event familiar to us all: "If you don't get enough sleep, protein substances that cause Alzheimer's disease will accumulate in your brain. As for the latest trends in the field of brain tech, "China and South Korea have announced that they are investing in the brain tech field as countries," and "The Economist" magazine introduced it as "the next frontier" of AI in its opening feature article.
Wakabayashi also noted that one of the biggest developments this year was the entry into the BrainTech market by Philips, a manufacturer of electrical equipment and related devices, focusing on healthcare products and medical-related equipment. He said that large companies are beginning to pay attention to "sleep tech," in which neuroscience supports sleep.
The audience listened intently to Mr. Wakabayashi's unique talk, which is rarely covered in the media, as he is active on the front lines of this field.
Pitches by 3 startups active in the Braintech area
Naoki Nishio, Media Seek, Inc.
Mediaseek Corporation has developed a service using the smartphone application "Myndlift," developed with the Israeli company Myndlift Ltd. The service consists of several mini-games in which a character is moved by brain waves read from a special headset attached to the device. By playing a game-like training session of about 15 minutes several times a week, users can expect to improve their ability to concentrate.
Finally, Mr. Nishio also revealed that "we are also developing an application that combines Japanese technology for educational institutions.
Mr. Mizutani, PGV Corporation
PGV Corporation, a venture company originating from a laboratory at Osaka University, manufactures and develops wearable electroencephalographs. Mr. Mizutani introduced the company by saying, "We can create our own hardware and software for EEG devices that bring together science and technology, and AI that analyzes the devices.
The sheet-type electrode electroencephalograph, the only one of its kind in Japan, was introduced as the company's product, weighing only 27 grams.
They use Bluetooth for wireless and continuous measurement, and can automatically and accurately classify sleep stages. They expect the system to be used in the field of preventive medicine.
Mr. Morishita, REMEMEM
Mr. Morishita began his pitch by explaining his business: "We want to save Erika Toda. He uniquely explained that he is working on a product to improve mild dementia, inspired by the TV drama "Dai-koi ai: Boku wo koroku kimi to to" (TBS), which tells the love story of a woman suffering from juvenile Alzheimer's disease and an unsuccessful novelist. The audience laughed as he continued to talk about difficult topics.
Morishita's goal, he says, is to "prevent dementia, extend its onset, and improve cognition. By making full use of so-called neurofeedback, which measures brain waves and applies feedback, it is expected to improve cognitive functions by moving the brain toward a favorable situation. Currently, patients wear a headset and use a dedicated application on a PC, but "in the future, the headset will become smaller, and people will be able to easily receive treatment while watching their favorite videos on a tablet or other device," said Morishita. He also revealed that the company is considering developing dementia improvement and prevention services at senior citizen facilities and sports gyms.
Braintech and the potential for business in the neurotech area
The three startups that made pitches and Mr. Wakabayashi spoke passionately about the business possibilities in the Braintech and Neurotech fields during the panel discussion.
To begin with, questions fly from the audience about the differences between the BrainTech and Neuroscience business areas and other businesses.
Mr. Nishio prefaces his remarks by saying, "There is no difference in terms of new business," but he also reveals that there is still a lack of recognition and understanding of the BrainTech field, saying, "When I explain (BrainTech services) to companies, they sometimes take it as occultic or semi-believing. That is why we go to companies to talk (make presentations) after compiling papers and reports on various studies," he said.
Mr. Wakabayashi also commented, "It is exactly the same as (Mr. Nishio's opinion). This field is very sensitive and delicate. It is difficult to understand the logic behind it. The need for evidence (to persuade) is very high, which may be a difference from other fields.
He continued, "We are taking advantage of our position as a university-launched venture and are actively teaming up with professors. We have them verify the devices through direct contact with them, and then we have them write papers about it as evidence. This allows us to take a very realistic approach in the area of sleep tech," said Mizutani.
What kind of companies should we co-create with if we want to develop the BrainTech area?
Finally, a talk on the theme, "If you were to do it through open innovation, what kind of companies would you explore the Braintech area with?" The final topic of the talk was "If you were to do open innovation, what kind of companies would you develop in the Braintech area? We are a company that has just started up. As a business partner, we welcome any company that can sublimate brain science into services. In addition to dementia and medical care, gyms have great potential. Many elderly people who go to gyms go there to prevent dementia, and it is expected to prevent blurring. The potential of the BrainTech business as such a preventive measure lies in a variety of areas, and I hope we can discuss this with more companies," said Morishita, enthusiastically expressing the high potential of BrainTech.
INNOVATIVE PORT" is an open innovation media operated by Creww, Inc. that connects startups, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs in recovery, and companies aiming to create new businesses on the theme of social issues.