Sunday, June 23, 2024

g.tec medical engineering: the Global Team Making a Huge Impact on the World via Brain-Computer Interface Technology

In the past, science fiction books and movies would depict people controlling a computer or other equipment using just their brains. What seemed to be a highly futuristic technology is now within reach, with numerous advances in brain-computer interface (BCI) technology happening in just a few years.

One of the companies leading the charge in BCI technology is g.tec medical engineering GmbH, headquartered in Schiedlberg, Austria. The company was founded in 1999 by Dr. Christoph Guger and Dr. Günter Edlinger, and it quickly started researching and producing BCI devices. Just a few weeks after starting its business, g.tec sold its first BCI system to a prestigious university in the UK, and this was soon followed by a purchase by a research institute in South Korea. g.tec frequently works with universities and research centers, which use its technology to develop new BCI applications that help in the advancement of neuroscience and neurotechnology.

Having been in the BCI space for 25 years now, g.tec has developed an international reputation as a pioneer. Since 2020, it has been hosting its BCI and Neurotechnology Spring School, the world’s largest event of its kind. As a hotbed of BCI research, g.tec has attracted researchers from all over the globe, extending beyond the European Union to the US, India, China, Colombia, and many more countries.

According to Dr. Guger, g.tec has various research and engineering teams specializing in different aspects of the technology. For example, one team focuses on biosignal amplifiers, designing the hardware so that g.tec can measure brain waves with very high accuracy. Another team specializes in developing software to improve the signal-to-noise ratios, resulting in greater intelligibility. Some researchers focus on collaborating with overseas partners, mostly located in other European countries, as well as the US and Japan, and testing out how the technology is used for new applications.

These teams are headed by renowned BCI scientists, such as Dr. Christoph Kapeller, who studied invasive BCI technology with g.tec for his PhD. He also worked with neurosurgeons from Japan on BCI experiments with epilepsy and tumor patients, becoming a global expert in this field. Today, he heads g.tec’s invasive BCI department.

Dr. Johannes Gruenwald is the head of g.tec’s signal processing department, playing an important role in all of the company’s technologies. All researchers who want to do a project with g.tec in the domain of signal processing have to work together with him.

The origin of g.tec’s flagship recoveriX BCI neurorehabilitation treatment, which has been shown to aid in improving the conditions of stroke and multiple sclerosis patients, also comes from international research collaborations. Around 10 years ago, g.tec was part of an EU consortium that was researching the creation of a mobile exoskeleton that was controlled by BCI, which could assist in the mobility of stroke patients. The knowledge gained during this project by g.tec became essential in the development of recoveriX, which was spearheaded by a team located in g.tec’s satellite office in Barcelona, led by Dr. Rupert Ortner.

“I’m proud to be working with many effective and efficient team leaders, most of whom are homegrown with g.tec,” says Dr. Guger. “They’ve worked with us for their master’s thesis or PhD research, building knowledge for the team, and later heading their own teams under their areas of specialization. g.tec is doing so many things under BCI, so it’s important that all teams and leaders are extremely capable. g.tec is continuously growing, and we are providing numerous opportunities to work with our industry-leading BCI technology. We’ve already signed agreements to bring our recoveriX technology to more than 100 locations across Europe, giving everyone a chance to work with this fantastic team.”

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