Perth-founded Silicon Valley-based neurotech startup humm has launched a public beta for what is set to be a world-first consumer ‘learnable’ product.
Founded in 2017 in Perth, and graduate of the Plus Eight tech accelerator, humm has been backed by BlueYard Capital, CRCM Ventures and UC-Berkeley’s SkyDeck Accelerator. The company focuses on lifelong learning and hopes to facilitate this by launching its non-invasive wearable device, that it says is clinically proven to improve one’s ability to learn by using electrical brain simulation.
According to humm, the learnable tunes signals into your brain that improves working memory in minutes by boosting focus, multitasking and better retention of information for up to two hours.
The technology is based on neuroscience research and the first of its kind as a consumer-friendly product for daily use.
“At this tipping point in our global economy, learning and adapting quickly has become essential in both our work and personal lives,” said Iain McIntyre, CEO and co-founder of humm.
The learnable – which for one 15-minute sessions costs the same as a cup of coffee, without the addictive stimulants – interacts with a connected app that allows users to gain performance insights.
Transcranial alternating current stimulation (taCS) is used by humm to gently boost the power of theta waves, the brain wave that working memory is dependent on. These brainwave patterns create communication between different parts of the brain and restore the flow of information along with improving the ability to recall experiences.
In a randomized controlled double-blind trial, humm observed a 20% increase in maximum working memory capacity. The U.S. Air Force has also tested the technology and it is currently in use for research at its Neuroscape lab at the University of California, San Francisco.
“Brain stimulation technology has been around for a long time in the clinical world, but historically it has been far too expensive and clunky to use outside of the lab,” said Dr. Vivienne Ming, founder and executive chair of Socos Labs.
humm is expected to launch early next year with the beta program to run for four months. Last year, humm raised a US$2.6 million round (A$3.5M), bringing their total invested capital to US$3.1 million (A$4.2M).