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Improving human’s cognitive functions with Earable systems – From a research idea to a mass production for end consumers.

Tam Vu, PhD
Founder & CEO, Earable Inc.
Associate Professor,
(On-Leave) Department of Computer Science
Director, Mobile and Networked Systems (MNS) Laboratory
Fellow, Institute of Cognitive Science
Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder

About the Presentation: This talk discusses the concept of “Earable computers”, small computing and actuating devices that not just track but also help improve humans cognitive functions. The devices are worn inside, behind, around, or on user’s ears for sensing many important physiological signals such as the brain, eyes, facial muscles, heart rate,  blood pressure, core body temperature, and more. These signals are interpreted by machine learning algorithm to control audio stimulation to improve wearer’s cognitive functions.

I will share our experience and lessons learned through realizing such earable systems in the context of sleep improvement, helping thousands of our commercial users to sleep faster, deeper and waked up feeling refreshed. I will also elaborate on many challenges that we faced when trying to take the research idea to mass production. We will conclude with a brief discussion on the use of this systems on other potential cognitive improvement and mental health applications.

About the Presenter: Tam Vu is the Founder and CEO of Earable, a neuroscience start-up developing wearables that detects real-time neuro signals to stimulate the brain to improve sleep, focus, and other cognitive functions. The company has served more than 2 thousand users from 28 countries after attracting investment from Samsung, Peter Theil’s Founders Fund among others. Before Earable, he was an associate professor at Oxford University in the UK and University of Colorado Boulder in the US.  He leads the Mobile and Networked Systems(MNS) Lab where he and his team conduct system research in the areas of wearable and mobile systems, exploring the physiological signals of a user and use them for inventing new human-computer interaction techniques and health-care solutions. The outcomes of his works resulted in a Sloan Fellowship,  NSF CAREER award, two Google Faculty Awards, 12 best paper awards, best paper nomination, and research highlights in flagship venues in mobile system research. He is also actively pushing his research outcomes to practice through technology transfer activities with 35 patents filed and attracted external investment for 2 venture-backed startups that he co-founded.