Can brain wave stimulation, delivered via a headband-style wearable device, calm nerves, jog memory, and help people fall asleep?
A “neuro-tech” startup, based in Cambridge and founded by scientists from MIT, Harvard Medical School, Imperial College London, and the University of California Berkeley, is trying to prove that it can.
Elemind Technologies emerged from stealth mode Tuesday, disclosing that it has closed on a seed round of $12 million in funding from a consortium that includes Village Global, an early-stage venture fund backed by high-tech billionaires Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates., Reid Hoffman, and Ann Wojcicki. Among other notable investors are the life sciences fund LDV Partners and E14 fund, an MIT-affiliated investment fund.
The company is designing products based on “electric medicine,” an approach that redirects brain waves through non-invasive stimulation — using sound, light, touch, and electrical pulses — to potentially address a range of neurological conditions in a more targeted way than drugs.
“We’ve shown through our research that we’re able to stop tremor for people with essential tremors,” said Elemind cofounder and chief executive Meredith Perry. “We’ve also shown that we can rapidly induce sleep, faster than leading sleep drugs. [And] we can induce memory formation and increase pain threshold.”
Elemind, a name derived from the phrase “elevate your mind,” plans to deliver these and other interventions through a single wearable device, powered by artificial intelligence technologies, signal processing algorithms, and dynamic neurostimulation techniques. Perry said the company isn’t yet ready to release an image of the device.
The company’s seed money will help bankroll its first product, which she said will be announced in the coming months.
Elemind, which has a small office in Central Square, has 13 employees scattered across the country, most of whom work remotely.
Its scientific cofounders include David Wang, who also serves as chief technology officer, and MIT neurotechnology professor Ed Boyden.
Robert Weisman can be reached at email@example.com.