Everything from brain-controlled prosthetics to games that are responsive to brain activity are within our grasp, according to University of Alberta student Eden Redman.
Redman’s work promoting and expanding access to brainwave-sensing technology has earned him the Student Entrepreneur of the Year award at Startup Edmonton’s YEG Startup Community Awards. Announced at an online ceremony in May, the award honours his work forging Edmonton- and Alberta-wide communities around biotech and neurotech.
The Faculty of Science grad, who is completing an after-degree in fine art and design, is a co-founder and executive director of NeurAlbertaTech (NAT), a U of A student group-turned-non-profit organization that supports a community of neurotech enthusiasts looking for ways to make technology interact with the brain.
Redman said fostering a community is the best way to unsilo ideas while giving the future company structure.
“By doing this, you can create a flexible platform that your clients, your company and your team can stand upon to succeed,” he said.
The startup has become Alberta’s premier neurotechnology innovator network, he said, directly supporting student innovation through mentoring, project funding, speaker events, workshops and networking events from across the academic spectrum.
He added that the company’s bottom-line success is hitched to the passion and interest behind each of the projects it helps shepherd.
In his first degree, Redman was introduced to a host of undergraduate research experiences in computational neuroscience.
“I like the potential,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of room to translate the research and mobilize the research findings to help everyday people.”
At the heart of NAT’s first spinoff, RemBRAINdt, is a program that generates abstract art based on a user’s thoughts by taking readings of brain activity. The team competed in several recent competitions, taking first place and $20,000 last November in Neuro Nexus 2020, an Alberta neurotechnology design competition.
Redman is also chief technical officer for 8-Bit Cortex (8BC), a Calgary-based startup that developed a program that seeks to gamify mental health assessment in a scientifically valid framework that allows people to track their mental well-being. 8BC received the People’s Choice Awards at the annual launch party hosted by Startup Calgary.
He also raised $30,000 in sponsorship for NatHACKS, a NAT-hosted brain-computer interface hackathon that runs from July 30 to Aug. 2.
In an entrepreneurial twist that will make the hackathon more productive, participants will take part in a workshop to generate ideas, form teams and get a head start on the hackathon itself, which will be a gruelling 64 hours rather than the typical 24.
| By Michael Brown
This article was submitted by the University of Alberta’s Folio online magazine. The University of Alberta is a Troy Media Editorial Content Provider Partner.
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