Human Enhancement – from Science Fiction to Reality

Israel Brain Technologies’ (IBT) meetup on the topic of Human Enhancement brought together inspiring speakers, cutting edge startups and a large group of attendees who filled the venue beyond capacity.  

“It was great to see such a large group of people who are curious about the future, attend the IBT meetup,” says Yanki Margalit, the Chairman of SpaceIL and Partner at Innodo Ventures, as well as one of Israel’s most inspirational speakers on the future of technology.  “The topics that were discussed at the event were fascinating, touching on the seam between current brain research and the quickly approaching future of human enhancement.”human2

The meetup event, which took place at sponsor WMN’s facilities and which drew over 150 attendees, includes five presentations from opinion leaders in the human enhancement arena, and a startup alley featuring five startups. Noy Barak, Technology Evangelist at Neurosteer, a neuroscientist and multi-disciplinary entrepreneur, organized the event. “It was really exciting to see the packed venue and feel the energy at the event,” says Barak.  “Technology is helping us to achieve things today in this arena that were considered science fiction only a few years ago.”  The content at the event was divided into two main topics: how to enhance the human body and brain, and how to enhance the functioning of people with disabilities

human4Presenting on the second topic was Shay Rishoni, who heads the Prize4Life Foundation which is seeking a cure for ALS.  His inspiring talk titled “Until there is a cure, there is technology” focused on the technology which enables him and other ALS sufferers to communicate with their surroundings. “The meetup filled me with optimism,” says Rishoni. “The presentations that came before me opened up new avenues of thought, and the audience had insightful questions; it was a very high quality event.”

Professor Nathan Intrator, Co-Founder of Neurosteer, which also sponsored the event, and Professor of Computer Science and Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University, presented on “Enhancing the brain using smart technologies”: “Today the human brain dedicates itself to improving the functioning of the computer…what we’re talking about is using computers to enhance the functioning of the human brain,” says Intrator.  “We’re standing on the brink of a new age in communication, in which we’ll be able to ‘see’ the emotions of the people we communicate with. Imagine, for example, being able to instantly know how your wife or husband feels the minute they walk in the door … this sounds far-fetched but actually this is going to be our reality very soon.”

“We were glad to see two recent graduates of IBT’s Brainnovations accelerator at the Meetup’s start-up alley,” says Miri Polachek, IBT’s Executive Director.  Recover.io and TMST recently completed the 3 month Launchpad program, and joined eyeControl, “Hakol Barosh” and Emotisee in the startup alley of the meetup event. “We’re excited that soon the second cycle of Brainnovations will begin,” added Yael Fuchs-Shlomai of IBT, who heads Brainnovations. “The deadline for applications is March 19th and we urge teams with great ideas in the braintech arena to apply.”

Additional speakers at the Meetup included Dagan Eshar, who works at the Perceptual Computation Group at Intel (building the RealSense camera), focusing on developing the next HCI (human-machine-interfaces), who presented on “Making Biofeedback Games for Emo-Regulation, Behavior Change, & Engagement”  and Yael Elshtein Director of the Center for Technological Consulting in Beit Issie Shapiro.

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