MindX Corp., a startup combining neurotechnology, augmented reality and artificial intelligence to create a new computing interface, named Julia Brown as CEO as it moves toward commercialization.
The company licensed technology from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, and Brown will lead the company as it continues development of a set of smartglasses that are controlled using “Look & Think” technology.
Brown is a cofounder of EpiWatch, a Johns Hopkins-developed seizure detection and data tracking platform that found use as an Apple Watch app. She also led design and development of more than 20 software applications with JHU Medicine’s Technology Innovation Center.
The technology underpinning MindX was developed as part of a research program at Laurel-based APL focused on neuroprosthetics that was primarily sponsored by DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office. The company was founded in 2017 by Brown and Emily Caporello. Brown led the engineering team as the startup incubated at Camden Partners Nexus, the venture fund from downtown Baltimore firm Camden Partners.
Camden Partners Nexus is also an investor in the company; the amount was not disclosed.
“Throughout her career, Julia has demonstrated a proclivity for translating concepts into products,” said R. Jacob Vogelstein, a partner at Camden Partners Nexus and board member at MindX, in a statement. “We believe she is the perfect person to build and grow this company as it moves from ideation to commercialization.”
The startup currently has five team members based in Bethesda, and Brown said they would look to hire software engineers to grow the team.
With the smartglasses, the idea is that “Look & Think” would replace “point and click” as the prime form of interaction. The smartglasses would be controlled by drawing on a contextual AI — or artificial intelligence that can draw on environmental cues — and technology that combines ocular and neural signals. Without having to make a physical click or tap, it provides a more natural way of controlling the interface.
There are signs of wider interest in using neurotechnology to provide a link with computing in projects from Facebook and Elon Musk. The company’s long-term work, Brown said, is oriented “to transform the nature of human-computer interaction,” pushing toward technology that’s more seamless and enables people to better interact with their environment.
“We’re looking at a world in 10 to 15 years where a variety of different neural control technologies are available, and what we really need is an interface to help make those useful — and useful in a way that is good for people,” Brown said.
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