Dr Nickolai Vysokov (OS 2005), along with a team of scientists, entrepreneurs and fellow OS established BrainPatch Ltd in 2018. His aim is to create technologies that revolutionise the market of non-invasive brain-computer interfaces to treat neurological disorders and help us in our everyday lives. He has found that he can use his company’s capabilities to positively respond to the global crisis.

In terms of experiences that this crisis has brought about, the most striking one is disinformation. Ranging from fake treatments to dangerous suggestions from government officials, and something that used to be a gold standard in terms of truth – a “peer-reviewed study” – has also lost its meaning after some rushed publications.

There are a lot of things unknown and strange things about the virus, with conflicting information coming from the media and scientific literature. Some reports suggest that patients might be dying from an overreaction of the immune system (read full article). Having found reports suggesting that the immune system can be regulated by electrical stimulation, we set out on an ambitious journey to design a "dial" for the immune system with the hope that it would save lives during the pandemic and beyond. We have been awarded a prestigious and highly competitive grant from Innovate UK to conduct independent experiments and achieve preliminary results within the next 3-6 months.

We have also seen a spike in demand for mental health solutions particularly with the rise of the Covid-19 crisis. The team at BrainPatch have also developed, tested and are working on bringing to the market a stimulation that can induce a relaxing sensation and bring the benefits of meditation in under 10 minutes. Our plan is to launch a Kickstarted campaign towards the end of the year.

I have also found time to help the local NHS hospital with PPE by joining the movement for 3D printing of face shields for frontline health workers. I contacted a friend who works in A&E and asked if she needed PPE. I found a version of the face shield that suited their needs and could be printed in small batches. The response to the first few was amazing so I continued printing! I have now provided 20 shields and 30 straps for face masks (to ease the pressure on the ears) for local hospital staff.

Image: Dr. Nickolai Vysokov at the Central Research Laboratory hardware accelerator is testing an open-source system for recording brainwaves with their AI-based algorithms.