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Using your Head: An Interview with Segotia

Soundskrit interviewed Segotia, a neurotechnology middleware provider bringing the brain and audio together. Aiming to be the next supplier of neuro-audio middleware, Segotia figured out the issues that people needed solved.

Using your Head: An Interview with Segotia

By Brad Diamond

The Power of the Mind

How powerful is your mind? Our brains, as strange as it may seem, are actually some of the most powerful computers in the world; not only can our brains compete with and surpass actual computers, the human mind achieves high functioning with a relatively low power cost. If you want to find the most impressive piece of neurotechnology today, then you won’t have to search farther than your own head.

Imagine you could control technology around you directly with your mind. With advancements in today’s understanding of neurobiology, technology is coming closer and closer to that far-out science fiction idea: products that can interact directly with our minds, using our thoughts to guide actions. The increasing understanding of the human mind means that this neurotechnology is becoming more and more a reality with each passing day.

For Ireland-based audio company Segotia, the technology of the future is the reality of today. Using  advanced audio digital signal processing solutions, Segotia is transforming wearables into devices that go beyond just playing music. Utilizing neural markers, these new wearables will be able to actively engage with the user’s brain.

Engaging with your Brain

Is active engagement with the brain a good thing? Science fiction can never seem to really make up its mind on this subject, which leaves us consumers a little uncertain. Will this technology drastically improve my life or will it lead me to a technological nightmare? What is the reality of neurotechnology?

We discussed Segotia's work on neurotechnology with Culann mac Cabe, CEO of Segotia. For Culann, this technology is the future, and a future that is rapidly approaching. Neurotechnology has realistic goals for changing the world of wearables, increasing accessibility and improving the experience of audio through the mind.

Like most things, growing comfortable with something new requires building an understanding of the new thing. In this article, we will explain how neuro technology works, and how Segotia’s work can change audio applications everywhere.

Journey into the Mind

Born out of a desire to stay ahead of the curve and aiming to become the go-to supplier of neurotechnology audio middleware, Segotia began looking into research on brain activity and concentration. Researchers found that they could identify a person’s concentration, and how hard someone is concentrating. In observing a person’s concentration, researchers were able to also observe the neural processes our brains accomplish to filter out unwanted noise.

The exact science of how this technology works would require a degree in neurobiology to understand. Luckily, Culann mac Cabe shared an easy to understand explanation of how neurotechnology listens to and understands the brain:

By identifying mental states of a user through analyzing various types of brainwaves, neurotechnology wearables would be able to more directly interact with a user's desires. The audio experience, delivered and enhanced through the wearable, would be nuanced and determined by a user's mind.

Through easily implemented EEGs, wearables can differentiate between multiple sources of noise, and use a user’s brain waves to “audio zoom” on the source being concentrated on. Users would experience the distracting, surrounding noise falling away, allowing them to give their entire attention to their subject. These wearables, by using the power of the brain, would provide real time background noise cancellation, assisting those who have hearing issues or struggle to hear in loud environments.

Because this technology is still in development, the list of possible improvements neurotechnology can make to today's wearables extends into the imagination. Segotia is stepping up to assist the creation of this technology, by providing their expertise on neurotechnology to today's intrepid engineers.

Change your Mind

With neuro markers, wearables can not only change the way we see the world, but the very way our brains act. Sleep stages, which regulate how much and what type of rest we get, are viewable through EEG. Through understanding the current mental state of a user, wearables will be able to prompt changes in that mental state.

To continue with the sleep example, wearables detecting the current sleep state of a user would be able to change the user’s brain state through neural stimuli. These neural stimuli are carefully designed audio signals, typically consisting of modulated sine waves. While this sound is not pleasant by itself, the nature of these signals means they can be layered in other audio; a user would be able to gain the benefits of neurotechnology while experiencing a more pleasant sound, such as green noise or their favorite song. The sleeper using these neural stimuli would have an easier time achieving restful sleep, as their wearable can react to their changing brain state and nudge them in the right direction.

Connecting Neuro with Audio, Segotia provides the best audio middleware for the future of wearables.

Influencing brain states extends beyond the realm of sleep though, as through neural stimuli, wearables can change emotional brain states. While the reality may be more complicated than the idea, the current understanding of neurotechnology suggests that this application is possible. This application could be used to promote a state of calm in someone who is overexcited or overanxious, through the use of specific sounds that prompt changes in mental states.

Neuro markers can also be handy for health care diagnosis, for example: in the detection of concussions. For sports today, concussions have to be diagnosed through human opinion, but with neuro enabled wearables, concussions can be identified as they happen. Players would no longer risk getting back into play with a concussion, as their wearables would provide a more objective concussion test than human opinion.

Segotia provides Solutions

As a provider of neuro-audio middleware, Segotia is not a developer of hardware, but a facilitator of hardware. While other companies would build the hardware, Segotia provides their unique and comprehensive understanding of neuro markers to unlock these future applications.

Their understanding of neurobiology makes Segotia an authority on designing for neuro technology. Companies looking to get ahead of the curve can rely on Segotia’s knowledge in designing neurotechnology wearables. Segotia’s software conditions and cleans an EEG signal, making the signal available for use by the wearable.

So while Segotia is not directly creating the world’s newest improvement to hearables, they are definitively a backbone behind its conception. For the company looking to create their own neuro technology wearable, Segotia is the place to start. Segotia has done the heavy lifting of neuro technology, allowing them to enable tomorrow’s future today.

For more information on what Segotia can do for your company, check out the Segotia website!

Aiming to learn more about audio? Check out our article about optimizing cardioid patterns!