Brane Interface is a technology startup working to develop a low cost, compact and non-invasive brain-computer interface using a single atomic layer of carbon called graphene. When a person thinks or moves the brain generates a magnetic field that can be sensed outside of the skull using a sensor called a magnetometer. Currently, the best performing magnetometer is a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) but this sensor requires an expensive liquid helium cooling system that weighs on the order of a ton. Because it is just one atom thick and can carry a relatively large current, graphene has the potential to make a room-temperature magnetometer that is as sensitive as a SQUID and yet is small enough to fit inside of an earbud. We believe we may have discovered the most compelling application of graphene to date.
Using our graphene-based magnetometer, Brane Interface plans to link a human brain with an external device such a smartphone by sensing the faint magnetic fields of human thought. Medical applications of the technology include assisting those who have been paralyzed to gain control over robotic limbs using only their thoughts. Consumer applications include enabling people to interact with their smartphone/computer using thought commands in place of touch or voice interfaces.
Brane Interface has built four prototypes to date. The first two prototypes use a polymer membrane as the main sense element and the most recent prototypes utilize a graphene membrane (the inspiration for “Brane”). Each successive prototype is at least one order of magnitude more sensitive than the prior prototype so we’re definitely making progress. We’ve filed multiple patents to protect our inventions.
After completing a computer model using Math-Cad software, we set out to make a proof-of-concept prototype of our magnetic field sensor.
We decided to make a much smaller prototype using photolithography.
Our first attempt at making a “real” device using a single atomic layer of carbon.
Now it’s time to make an improved graphene-based prototype.
I’m currently a student at Saint Andrew's High School in Austin, Texas. In addition to developing novel BCI and clean energy devices, I also love to read about Roman history and make short films. After college I think it would be fun to challenge tech’s “frightful five” with a series of BCI devices that offer a much more natural way to interface with the digital world. I also want to use the miraculous properties of graphene to lower the cost of clean energy devices.