Consumer sleep and neurotechnology company Rythm has created a scientific advisory board comprised of individuals from the fields of sleep research, neuroscience, and mathematics. These experts will provide guidance and support to Rythm as the company pursues its mission of understanding and improving sleep, understanding the human brain through non-invasive technology, and bringing a consumer sleep solution to market.
New board members includes David Eagleman, PhD, professor of neuroscience, Stanford University, founder & CSO, BrainCheck, and cofounder & CSO, NeoSensory; Christof Koch, PhD, CSO and president of Allen Institute for Brain Science; Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD, director of Stanford Sleep Center; and Cedric Villani, PhD, winner of the 2010 Fields Medal and director of Henri Poincarré Institute. These experts will help Rythm define its research strategy, encompassing sleep diagnosis, treatment, improvement, and understanding of the human brain.
In addition, Rythm’s has been selected to advance in the $5 million AI XPRIZE, a four-year global competition to develop rtificial intelligence technologies to tackle some of humanity’s most pressing challenges.
The company’s first product, Dreem, uses brain activity and sound stimulation to increase the quality of sleep in a non-invasive way.
“The brain is the most complex system known today, and within that field of study, sleep is a new domain that presents a variety of complex problems and solutions,” says Hugo Mercier, CEO & Co-founder at Rythm, in a release. “The diversity of fields, experience, and intellect that the members of our board bring will help Rythm unlock major challenges and pursue the right research directions.”
David Eagleman is a professor at Stanford University in the department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, known for his work on brain plasticity, time perception, synesthesia, and neurolaw. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Science and Law. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, a council member in the World Economic Forum, and a popular TED speaker. He has launched two companies from his laboratory: NeoSensory and BrainCheck. He is a New York Times bestselling author published in 31 languages and is the writer and creator of the Emmy-nominated TV series, The Brain with David Eagleman. He is a renowned scientist with articles in all the major academic journals and profiles in national magazines such as the New Yorker. He is a regular commenter on national television and radio.
“We don’t yet fully understand why we sleep and dream, but we’re aware that it’s related to the consolidation of learning and memory,” says Eagleman. “I am excited to work with Rythm to better unmask the mysteries and nuances of sleep state, and to be able to leverage that understanding to improve lives. Inadequate sleep prevents people from reaching their full potential. The improvement of sleep opens the hope of functioning at a more optimized mental performance.”
Christof Koch is a physicist turned neuroscientist serving as the president and chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. He is leading a team of 300 scientists, engineers, and staff engaged in a 10-year project that aims to understand the building blocks of the mammalian brain. Koch previously served as a professor at the California Institute of Technology for nearly 30 years, specializing in the biophysics of the brain and the neural bases of consciousness, and has been influential in arguing that consciousness can be approached using the modern tools of neurobiology. As a member of Rythm’s board, Koch will contribute his neuroscientific expertise on how sleep relates to the brain and its electrical behavior in health and disease.
“We have so much more to learn about the relationship that sleep has to the functioning of our brains and our health,” says Koch. “Working with Rythm is an opportunity to bring academia together with the development of consumer products so that sleep research can become practicable.”
Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD, is the Craig Reynolds Professor of Sleep Medicine at Stanford Medical School and the director of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. He is a recognized authority on sleep research and medicine, known primarily for his work on narcolepsy. He is a member of the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine and has received numerous research grants and honors, including National Institute of Health Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and McKnight Neuroscience awards. He is the co-author of more than 200 original scientific publications, and serves on the editorial board of scientific journals in the field of sleep and biology research. He formerly served as the president of the Sleep Research Society, chair of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research advisory board of the National Institutes of Health, and chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Mental Health.
“I’ve always been intrigued by the enigma of sleep and devoted my career to studying sleep disorders,” says Mignot. “With the rapid growth of portable technology, biology, and analytics, it is an exciting time for sleep, with plenty of opportunities to increase well-being. Rythm is bringing together people spanning multiple fields of science and technology to push forward our understanding of sleep and improve the diagnosis of sleep disorders. I look forward to contributing my knowledge and working with Rythm to help realize this vision.”
Cedric Villani is a mathematician who was awarded the Fields Medal, the world’s most prestigious math award, in 2010. Currently, he is a professor at the University of Lyon and serves as the director of Pierre and Marie Curie University ‘s Institut Henri Poincaré. Villani’s work focuses on partial differential equations, Riemannian geometry, and mathematical physics. He received the Fields Medal for his work on Landau damping and the Boltzmann equation. He is also a well-known author and speaker, renowned for his passionate ability to make math exciting and accessible.
Villani’s expertise on computational mathematics and machine learning will be a valuable asset to Rythm because both areas are critical to the understanding of sleep and the brain. Until recently, machine learning mimicked brain functions, but now the new frontier is to understand how the brain works, and sleep represents an ideal entry door.
The board is not only working with Rythm on diagnosis and treatment, but also to help build the product that will launch in summer 2017.