Earbuds that can read your mind? N36 venture Orbityl pushes boundaries of brain-computer interfaces

Mar 26, 2019

What if you could control the volume of your headphones with a thought?

Vancouver, B.C.-based startup Orbityl wants to make that happen with a brain-computer interface that looks like an ordinary pair of headphones.

The startup is currently partnering with a headphone manufacturer to make a product that can sense a user’s mental state — i.e. whether they’re awake, asleep, and how alert they are. That’s the first application, which works by sensing the change in voltage in the brain over time. They haven’t yet disclosed the identity of the hardware maker.

The more ambitious plan is to use machine learning to decode thoughts.

“A lot of the research that we’ve done is in brain-computer interface applications — looking for discrete thoughts that an individual is having as a mechanism to be used for control [of a device],” said Orbityl co-founder Sean Kaiser.

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