Open call for industry engagement

The Call for Expression of Interest on Industry Engagement was designed by the Human Brain Project to involve companies in the development of tools and services for EBRAINS. It targeted companies, most notably SMEs and technology-based start-ups, operating in the field of digital neurosciences.

These four successful projects were selected and joined HBP:

1. NEURO-CONNECT - Knowledge management solution for multimodal brain atlas and connectome integration

Coordinator: Biomax Informatics AG, Germany

The overall aim of NEURO-CONNECT was to configure a Knowledge Management Platform as a software suite to act as a commercial interface to EBRAINS, in particular to neuroscience research data accessible in the EBRAINS Knowledge Graph, the openMINDS metadata schemas and tools and resources made available through the KnowledgeSpace service.

2. CESPAR - Closed-loop exoskeleton simulation for personalized assistive rehabilitation within HBP NRP

Coordinator: Alpine Intuition, Switzerland

Partners: Autonomyo, Switzerland

The CESPAR project aimed to develop a project of coupled musculoskeletal systems and robotic assistive device environments to study simulated neurorehabilitation of patients with lower limb motor control disorders. The project’s mission was to build an optimization and learning framework to enhance the development of assistive robotic device engagement in neurorehabilitation. 

3. Neuro-robin - Closed loop upper limb neurorobot simulator

Coordinator: Bit&Brain Technologies SL, Spain

The goal of the Neuro-robin project was the development of the digital twin for stroke neurorehabilitation. The objective of the digital twin is to provide tools to push forward research on neurorehabilitation improving the prognosis of the interventions and their outcome in terms of functional recovery. The ability to simulate closed loop interventions is a very promising tool to tackle some of the open questions in neurorehabilitation, namely, the role of neuroplasticity in the reorganization of the neural circuits after the stroke. Also, they provide a very effective tool to consider the variability and to personalize interventions to each patient. Indeed, the digital twin achieves this by using the advanced brain simulation tools developed in HBP, which are able to exploit data collected from a patient to create simulations based on personalized models. Concretely, those tools are The Virtual Brain (TVB) and the Neuro-Robotics Platform (NRP).


Coordinator: GEM Imaging SA – ONCOVISION, Spain

The specific objective of the Living Brain project (LB2020) was to build a prototype dedicated brain PET (Positron emission tomography) incorporating revolutionary innovations upgrading neurophysiology knowledge, advanced neurological research, and expanding clinical applications.

This new technology is enabling a one order of magnitude leap in molecular sensitivity, resolution and speed, with which has several crucial, practical clinical and research implications, e.g. small brain structure dynamic monitoring, being able to recognize and process fast neuronal signals; in-vivo scanning, in order to accurately distinguish physiological from pathological activity at specific regions; plasticity studies in persons with MCI and with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease; accurately measuring even small changes of activity in specific brain signals and regions at both very low and high concentration of tracers; or a radical reduction of applied doses to patients, allowing to perform low-risk scans in healthy people, which will push the frontiers of neuroscience and our understanding of brain evolution and its plasticity at every age.


In the following sections the impacts reached by these projects are summarised.


Medical impacts 

• Saving up to 90% hands on time to access and explore study outcome of HBP EBRAINS.
• Quantify longitudinal changes extracted from multi-modality raw images acquired by a broad range of clinical MR routines for brain di seases.
• A modern unified easy-to-use web-browser-based user interface to connect NeuroCONNECT 24/7.

Research impacts

• Saving up to 90% hands on time to access and explore multi-modality imaging analyses results from personalized native imaging space to a unified feature space.
• Compare cross-sectional vs. longitudinal changes extracted from multi-modality images in different brain atlases against various reference groups.
• A modern unified easy-to-use web-browser-based user interface for exploring, visualizing and exporting results.

Industrial impact

• Time saving in accessing, exploring and concluding standardized multi-centre brain imaging analyses results.
• Compare cross-sectional vs. longitudinal changes extracted from multi-modality images in different brain atlases against various reference groups.
• A modern unified easy-to-use user interface and APIs for secure uploading, sharing and exporting results among partners.


Medical impact

• In the field of evolution dynamics of neurological injuries and therefore assistive robotic surgery.
• In the field of assistive and adaptive control therapies into the rehabilitation outcome after neurological injuries.
• In the field of clinical impact, by proposing new rehabilitation solutions that maximize user involvement to favor brain plasticity allowing better patient recovery.

Research impact

• Collaboration with TU Munich Robotics group and Neurorobotics subproject at HBP.
• Initiation of an application of a research funding with the Innovation Center of an university.

Industrial impact 

• In the field of assistive robotics development (ARD), with an in-silico simulation environments working in concert with the users and physiotherapists to engineer lower and upper body ARD devices.
• Collaboration with BITBRAIN under the umbrella of HBP Neurorobotics.
• Collaboration with assistive robotic device companies such as Autonomyo, research labs such as EPFL Biorobs and EPFL Rehaassist.
• Initiation of a project in the field of neuromorphic computing with an industrial partner.


Medical impact 

• It has been gained an intensive knowledge of the use of simulation for neurorehabilitation and other neural disorders, such as dementia. Thus, there is a deeper understanding in the project of the potential and current limitations of these technologies to develop products and services in the digital health space. 
• The partner is currently developing neurotechnology for digital health services and running clinical trials for different disorders: sleep disorders, dementia or stroke neurorehabilitaion. They are evaluating and developing a plan to incorporate simulation services to personalize the digital services to the patients in the short term. 

Research impact 

• Biomedical engineers have been trained in cutting edge technologies developed by HBP, mainly the TVB, the processing pipelines for fMRI data and the NRP platform.
• Several proposals around neurorehabilitation in collaboration have been prepared with other partners to continue the development of the ideas generated in Task 5.21.
• Some software modules have been added to the repositories of the HBP. Although they are not mature enough to be directly offered as services, the company aims to develop them further. 

Industrial impact

• The partner has joined the Spanish node of EBRAINS and is now actively pushing for further development of emerging technologies in neurorehabilitation. 
• The project has also served to create a network of collaborators – especially through the dissemination activities carried out within HBP – and to promote and publish achieved results. 


Medical impact

• Most key brain structures (brain cortex thickness 1,5 to 4,5 mm, entorhinal cortex, BRAAK I in Alzheimer´s Disease AD size of 2 grains of rice...) are very small, and ultra-high resolution (better than 2 mm) is a must for cutting edge personalized clinical care and neuro research. Standard full body PET CT or PET MR have resolution above 4 mm.  
• A dedicated brain PET is justified if practical performance is non inferior to whole body PET, and it is cost effective, as massive scale overload of demand from Oncology keeps existing whole-body PET saturated. The technology covers every CNS clinical and research need, providing available, fast, low dose, and patient-friendly personalized care for everyone. 
Research impact
• While the computed tomography (CT) is providing excellent anatomical images of the brain, MRI is considered -when available- gold standard for anatomical/structural brain imaging. PET (positron emission tomography, functional/molecular imaging) is 1 MM times more sensitive than MRI and provides exclusive intra cellular information, as well as quantification of biological dynamic processes.
• Living Brain exclusive specifications are opening unprecedented new point of care opportunities for both clinical and advanced research, as well as Healthy Aging.
• Adding the molecular/functional perspective to EBRAINS brain atlas could further multiply its contribution to comprehensive brain knowledge. This will multiply its practical impact for both research and clinical care of healthy, altered and pathological brain, fulfilling HBP ambition and objectives.

Industrial impact

• Using external funding in collaboration with the Instituto de Instrumentación para imagen Molecular (i3m) of Valencia, Spain - one of the top 5 leading molecular imaging institutions in the world - the final assembled system is a fully functional, world leading brain PET with 200mm axial field of view. The completed prototype and its software are currently being assessed, with validation on first patients in planned for September 2023.
• Comprehensive, fact-based assessments have been prepared and are available about market potential by application, disease (primary focus Alzheimer’s AD and other dementias, Parkinson, brain cancer), priority target centers, leading Neuro Imaging and Neurology allies, as well as multi-country public and private payors, media, patient groups and other stakeholders.
• Leading identified Neurological care centers with access to PET imaging are above 4.000 worldwide. First stage target customers are around 600, with 2.000+ in a second wave. Leading identified Neurological Research centers are around 70, including pharma companies, with other 85 in a second wave. Key aspects are local access and service capability, so prioritization is decisive.
• Target market pricing and co-development strategies are already defined, integrating evidence generation with creation of realistic/operative reference centers network, building on an extensive and successful team experience.