• Jason Farquhar
  • I am the System Architect and head of Machine Learning at MindAffect a Brain Computer Interface startup based in the Netherlands. My passions are new technologies in AI and Aerospace, and developing socially relevant technologies.
  • jason@mindaffect.nl

Hi from Jason

Hi everyone,

As I’ve been with MindAffect for over a year now it’s probably time that I introduced myself. I’m Jason, an ex-pat escaped from the UK (a long time before the current Brexit disaster) and now happily living in Utrecht with my wife and two small daughters.

My career path to MindAffect has been somewhat indirect. I have always had a passion for technology (I wrote my first software program at age 11) and in particular Artificial Intelligence. This led to my bachelors in Aerospace engineering where my final thesis project was to develop an intelligent auto-pilot for a space-plane. I then took a masters in artificial intelligence, which lead to my first job developing AIs for the first generation of flying drones in the UK. At that time the drone technology still expensive and the controllers relatively crude. Clearly what was needed was more intelligence so I left the company to pursue a PhD developing intelligent planning systems with a focus on applications in autonomous vehicles, followed by a post-doctoral position in machine learning.

Whilst all this was going on I also met my future wife, which lead me to change direction. My wife’s father had MS which left him almost completely paralysed — only able to move his eyes to communicate. His only method of communication was a laborious process of spelling letters whilst watching for eye-movements. As an avid technologist I was astounded that in the 2000’s a better solution for such paralysed patients was not available. Whilst researching possible alternative solutions I came across the idea of Brain Computer Interfaces which seemed to me to be an ideal solution. What was also clear from my research was that the technology was still immature, and one thing that was lacking was more intelligent algorithms decoding useful signals from the measured brain signals. This lead me to an academic career in using Artificial Intelligence techniques to make BCIs better so they can be used to actually help paralysed people — and hence logically to MindAffect which has the same goal.

Within MindAffect my main role is as System Architect and chief developer for the Artificial Intelligence components of the BCI. This means I design the high-level structure of the BCI and how all the components communicate with each other. I also specifically develop and implement the AI components which do the signal analysis. It’s very exciting to be able to turn the theoretical knowledge developed in the past 10 years of my academic career to a real problem which will actually help patients.

Please feel free to reach out to me at jason at mind affect dot nl!