DURHAM, N.C. -- Have you ever worn your sunglasses flipped up on top of your head and played mobile games on a smartphone or tablet? Then you’re 100% qualified to use NeuroPlus, an exciting new way for adults and children to effectively rewire their brains to improve focus and self-control. Not to over-simplify the matter, but that’s basically the gist of Jake Stauch’s innovative combination of video games and neurofeedback, biofeedback, and cognitive training exercises. “We started in 2012 testing advertising with brain scans watching TV ads, and a while into it participants were asking us if they could take the system home and put it on themselves when doing work or see if it could help their kids concentrate,” Stauch reminisced.
The young entrepreneur, who’d done neuroscience research at Duke University, switched gears and launched NeuroPlus with early pilot customers. The system consists of a hardware and software platform where users wear headsets which monitor brain activity while they play a mobile video game. The headset, which looks like a tricked-out pair of sunglasses, feeds data into training software. The more relaxed the user is and the more he or she concentrates, the better they do in the game.
In 2016, NeuroPlus engaged in a clinical study that affirmed what Stauch and his young team had discovered themselves -- neurofeedback helps people improve their ability to focus. The randomized controlled study showed kids with ADHD improved 3-4 times more with NeuroPlus than with traditional treatments.
“We saw the research show if you get feedback you can practice certain self-control and focus-oriented skills, which could help with children struggling with things like ADHD. We thought, why is a child going to sit there and practice this stuff? The answer was it has to be fun, so we worked through some ideas and decided to build a video game,” Stauch explained.
NeuroPlus brought in people to help with developing the video game concept and actually developed the entire system in-house. Along the way, Stauch and his team raised over $1million in angel funding to help develop the product, start manufacturing, and engage the user base. Recently, the company completed a successful Kickstarter campaign that went over their goal, and is now launching an Indigogo campaign where users can pre-order NeuroPlus. The pre-ordering will continue through the end of November with the goal of starting to ship units in December. Even though his company has been mostly B2C in development thanks to high demand from parents, Stauch said he is open to partnering opportunities down the road.
No matter how big or fast NeuroPlus grows, Stauch is committed to keep his operation in North Carolina, despite overtures from other high-profile startup hubs like Silicon Valley.
“Early on we were open to moving to other places like California, and we did a cost-benefit analysis and realized we have a great talent pool right here in Durham with three great universities, a fantastic quality of life and we couldn’t make a compelling argument to leave,” he said.
For more information on NeuroPlus, visit the company’s website at www.neuro.plus or check out the NeuroPlus Indigogo page.
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