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Allianz Trade & Inclusive Brains join forces to foster the inclusion of people with disabilities

Allianz Trade, the world’s leading trade credit insurer and Inclusive Brains, a French start-up developing a new generation of neural interfaces powered by generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), have partnered to develop Prometheus, a new kind of brain-machine interface that transforms diverse neurophysiological data (brainwaves, heart activity, facial expressions, eye-movements) into mental commands. The goal of this innovative assistive technology is to help individuals who can no longer use their hands or speak to operate workstations, connected objects and to navigate digital environments without the need to type on a keyboard, to touch a screen, or to use vocal commands. Eventually, the Allianz Trade and Inclusive Brains partnership will accelerate the development of AI-powered assistive solutions that give people with disabilities more autonomy and facilitate their access to education and to the workforce.

AI for good: When generative AI-powered solutions improve inclusion

Inclusive Brains was founded in 2022 by Professor Olivier Oullier, a neuroscientist turned AI entrepreneur, and Paul Barbaste, a cyber security and AI expert, with an ambitious and clear mission: to leverage the combination of generative AI and Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) to improve the inclusion of people who lost the ability to move because of life accidents or neurodegenerative diseases. This is why Inclusive Brains began developing the Prometheus BCI.

Inclusive Brains’ generative AI models and multimodal neural interfaces will benefit everybody, regardless of their physicality, abilities, and needs, however special they might be. True inclusion means developing solutions that assist each and everyone of us, with no discrimination whatsoever. Being able to control a computer with your mind, your eyes or by blinking or clenching will be life changing for a lot of people with paralysis as it will enable them to communicate with the world. So far, generative AI’s Large Language Models (LLM) are great at understanding human language, but words do not capture all the nuances of human-machine interactions, even more when a disability prevents you from saying them out loud or from typing them. We therefore train our AI models with various kinds of neurophysiological data such as brainwaves, facial muscles, eye-movements or heartbeats. It’s the only way to truly empower machines and digital environments to adapt to how unique each user is, and to how they feel in real time” states Olivier Oullier, Co-founder & CEO of Inclusive Brains.

Allianz Trade brings its global footprint to the Prometheus BCI

The Prometheus technology is already well advanced. Indeed, Inclusive Brains has developed a multimodal data acquisition platform that can monitor, process and classify various neuropsychological signals at the same time (brain, heart, face, eyes). Coupled with the start-up’s AI model at the core of the Prometheus BCI, it enables people to control an exoskeleton arm with their mind, or by blinking, clenching or with some facial expressions depending on one’s abilities and needs. Multiple usability tests have been conducted with organizations supporting people with cognitive disabilities and paralysis.

But in order to make the project live and real, Inclusive Brains needed the support of a committed and powerful partner. This is where Allianz Trade comes in: by partnering with Inclusive Brains, Allianz Trade, which operates through the Allianz Commercial license in South Africa, will bring some important resources to the project on financial, strategic and visibility matters.

We are proud to partner with Inclusive Brains to leverage artificial intelligence and neurotechnology for positive social impact. Inclusion is a core value at Allianz Trade. We believe in the power of innovation to support it. Partnering with a start-up that is at the forefront of developing generative AI and neurotechnologies to achieve positive social impact is therefore a natural continuation of this long-standing commitment. Concretely, we will bring financial, strategic and logistics support to further advance Prometheus BCI’s R&D and material needs by acquiring physiological sensors and 2 exoskeleton arms. We will also support Inclusive Brains in making the Prometheus AI model open source for everyone else involved in advancing inclusion to benefit from our partnership. The arm exoskeletons, once properly trained and programmed, will be then given to a non-for-profit organisation supporting people with paralysis. We also aim to give Inclusive Brains and Prometheus a wider reach by supporting all communications efforts at global scale. We believe we have an important role to play to raise people’s awareness about the power of AI to foster inclusion”, explains Aylin Somersan Coqui, CEO of Allianz Trade.

A concrete application to come soon, during a key Olympic milestone

In a few weeks from now, the Prometheus neurotechnology will be used during the Olympic Torch Relay by a torch bearer with motor disability to control the arm exoskeleton. Through this first public application and use of Prometheus, Inclusive Brains and Allianz Trade aim to increase people’s awareness on the urge to support scientific and industrial effort in the field of AI-powered assistive technologies that improve inclusivity in the workplace and beyond.

Allianz Group has been a historical partner of the International Paralympic Committee since 2006. As Allianz Trade this makes Prometheus even closer to our heart and fully aligned with our values and our investment in science and innovation. This is the first step of a long journey: other concrete use cases are envisaged with Inclusive Brains such as the development of a mind-controlled keyboard and the exploitation of their AI models to improve safety in the workplace. We are convinced that generative AI combined with cutting-edge neural interfaces will accelerate the integration of people with disabilities and benefit all individuals equally,” adds Aylin Somersan Coqui, CEO of Allianz Trade.

Following in the footsteps of the remote control who changed the lives of people with disabilities before it got adopted massively by the general population, our hardware agnostic gen AI-powered neural interfaces will pave the way for a new generation of smart tools and workstations that will assist everybody. Mind-controlling connected objects is something people have been doing for a while. Solutions enabling precise control with mental commands that can be used daily and at scale is the big challenge. This is why we needed to work with a global corporation sharing our values and vision to turn our innovation into a viable and scalable product. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with Allianz Trade, since our goals are aligned: to leverage technology and AI for the better good”, adds Paul Barbaste, Co-founder and CTO of Inclusive Brains.

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