本文章刊登在CHINA DAILY-艾问专栏

韩璧丞中国日报

“你敢不敢相信,我能改变世界。”
——韩璧丞
“Believe it or not, I can change the world.”
——Bicheng Han

约150万到250万年前,出现在非洲东岸的其中一支南方古猿进化成能人,旧石器时代开始了。能人意即能制造工具的人,是最早的人属动物,也是人类最早的“科技变革”,它帮助人类战胜一切其他生物成为这颗星球的统治者,世界“地覆天翻”。
About 1.5 million to 2.5 million years ago, a group of Australopithecus on the east coast of Africa evolved into homo habilis, marking the start of the Paleolithic era. Homo habilis refers to the most ancient humo genus who were capable of making tools, initiating the earliest “technological revolution” of human history. It assisted the mankind in defeating all other creatures and becoming the ruler of the planet. The world was hence “overturned.”

随后,人类漫长的历史长河发生了带来工具变革的一次又一次的科技革命。<曼哈顿计划>、<阿波罗登月计划>、<人类基因组计划>,烙印在人类史册上的三个划时代科学工程。
During the long history of mankind, technological revolutions have brought about tools evolution. The Manhattan Project, Apollo Program and Human Genome Project are the three science milestones engraved in human history.

6年前,一个新的国际性科研大计划<人类大脑计划,The White House BRAIN Initiative>在美国落地,美国政府平均每年投入40亿美金支持该项目研究。紧接着,欧盟、日本等地区和国家也相继颁布脑研究计划;2016年8月,中国政府在<十三五>规划纲要中,将脑科学和类脑研究列为国家重大科技项目。
Six years ago, a new international research program, the White House BRAIN Initiative, was launched in the United States. The US government invested an average of $4 billion per year to support the project. Subsequently, the EU, Japan and other regions and countries have also launched brain research initiatives; in August 2016, the Chinese government listed brain science and brain-like research as national major science and technology projects in the 13th Five-Year Plan.

2019年的CES人才辈出,科技精英摩肩接踵,无不壮志凌云。在这里,艾问创始人艾诚对话了哈佛大学脑科学中心博士兼Neural Control of Movement的课程讲师韩璧丞,来探寻人类的大脑密码。这位风尘仆仆赶来的科学家,同时还是脑机接口公司BrainCo、以及新型脑控义肢公司BrainRobotics的创始人。
At CES2019, talents and elites of the tech industry gathered in crowds with ambitions respectively. Right here, iAsk Founder Gloria Ai talked to Bicheng Han, Doctor of the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University and Lecturer of the course Neural Control of Movement, to explore the puzzles of the human brain. The travel-stained scientist is also Founder of the brain-machine interface company BrainCo and the new brain-controlled prosthetic company BrainRobotics.

韩璧丞1

脑机接口是什么?
What is the brain-machine interface?

脑机接口的概念在1973年就出现了,是由美国加州大学洛杉矶分校的J·J·Vidal在其论文中提出的。到今天,脑机接口在操控机器或机械手臂等方面已取得了不小进展,2016年12月,脑机接口取得一项重大突破,能够让普通人在没有植入大脑电极的情况下,只凭借“意念”,在复杂的三维空间内实现物体控制,包括操纵机器臂抓取、放置物体和控制飞行器飞行。
The concept of the brain-machine interface was proposed in 1973 by J.J. Vidal from UCLA in his paper. Today, the brain-machine interface has made great progress in manipulating machines or robotic arms. In December 2016, a major breakthrough was made with the brain-machine interface, where ordinary people were able to control object movements in complex three-dimension spaces without implanting electrodes in the brain, including manipulating the robotic arm to grab, place objects, and control aircraft flight.

韩璧丞2

虽然脑机接口技术(BMI)已有近百年的历史,但不可否认的是人类对大脑还知之甚少,这项技术的研究也仍处于初期起步阶段,应用领域因此受到限制。
Although the technology of brain-machine interface (BMI) has a history of nearly a century, it is undeniable that humans still know little about the brain. The research of this technology is still in its infancy, thus the field of application is limited.

韩璧丞曾在哈佛开设了一门名为“BE130”的课程,叫大脑控制仪器,当时几乎没有人去上这门课,因为学生不知道这门课到底是在教什么,直到他贴了一个广告,说,“有一种技术能让女生知道你男朋友脑子里想什么”,这门课才热起来。
Bicheng Han once taught a course called “BE130” at Harvard, i.e. brain control instrument. At first, barely anyone signed up for the class because students had no idea what this course was about, until he advertised that “there’s a technology that enables girls to understand the minds of their boyfriends”. The course suddenly became popular.

脑机接口工程可以让我们更加了解大脑?韩璧丞与BrainCo又会怎样突破?
Can brain-machine interface engineering really enable us to learn more about the brain? How will Bicheng Han and BrainCo make breakthroughs?

BrainCo是世界领先的脑机接口公司,也是目前世界上申请及正在申请专利数量最多的脑机接口公司之一。截至2018年底,BrainCo已获授权及正在申请的专利有近百项。
BrainCo is the world’s leading brain-machine interface company with one of the world’s most number of patents approved and in progress. By the end of 2018, BrainCo had been authorized and applied for nearly 100 patents.

韩璧丞3

脑机接口,人类增强,内脑架构,韩璧丞选择了这样一个历史悠久却依然神秘难解的脑科学领域作为研究与创业的起点,且这是哈佛历史上第一个由中国人主导的校方孵化项目。2018年的6月,韩璧丞曾发表过一次公开演说,当时他自信满满:
Brain-machine interface, human enhancement, and brain architecture. Bicheng Han chose such a time-honored yet still mysterious brain science field as the starting point for research and entrepreneurship. This is also the first Chinese-led project incubated by Harvard in history. In June 2018, Bicheng Han delivered a public speech in a confident manner:

“大家好,我叫韩璧丞,过去9年时间,我专注研究一项技术,它的名字叫脑机接口。对于我们来说,在研究人工智能的今天,大家一定好奇人工智能的下一代是什么?很多人认为,这项技术就是脑机接口。”
“Hello everyone, my name is Bicheng Han. For the past 9 years, I have focused on a technology named brain-machine interface. Given the research on artificial intelligence nowadays, everyone must be curious about what the next generation of artificial intelligence will be. It’s commonly deemed that it would be the brain-machine interface.

“钢铁侠”与“超能力”?
“Iron Man” and “Super Power”?

艾诚:你能不能用更简单的语言去解释一下,BrainCo是什么意思?
Gloria Ai: Can you explain in simple words what BrainCo means?

韩璧丞:BrainCo来自于Brain Computer Interface,它的名字,它的意思就是脑机接口,脑机接口其实就是连接大脑和外部的仪器,通过设备。我们所检测的,其实是人体当中最小的一个人体体征信号,但是我们能通过最小的人体体征信号,去解决一些非常大的问题。
Bicheng Han: BrainCo originates from Brain Computer Interface, which means the brain-machine interface. The brain-machine interface is actually connecting the brain and the external world through a device. What we detect is actually the most subtle body signals. But we are able to solve fairly big problems via the most subtle body signals.

艾诚:我是不是能理解有两个方向?一个方向是,我可以用脑子或人脑,去控制外部的设备;第二个方向,我也可以用外部的设备,去理解我人脑中的信息?
Gloria Ai: If I understand this correctly, there’re two directions in this. One, I can control external devices via the brain; two, I can also understand the brain information better through external devices.

韩璧丞:是的,这个是我们整个脑机接口两个比较重要的方向。
Bicheng Han: Yes, these are the two vital directions for the brain-machine interface.

艾诚:那如果让你对着镜头介绍一下BrainCo这家公司,你会怎么说?
Gloria Ai: If you were to introduce BrainCo to the camera, what would you say?

韩璧丞4

韩璧丞:BrainCo是一个研究脑机接口底层技术的公司,我们现在主要做两个领域的产品,第一个是教育领域,这款产品,是让所有的学生快速地养成高效学习的习惯,并且能够在很短的时间之内提高学习效率,提高成绩。然后我们另一款产品,是帮助大概3000万肢体残疾的朋友,让他们恢复到日常生活当中。其实有很多人说我们这群人是“钢铁侠”,但是其实我们做的事情,是要在中国创建3000万个“钢铁侠”。
Bicheng Han: BrainCo is a company that studies the underlying technology of brain-machine interface. We are mainly engaged in developing two areas of products. The first one is for the education field, where the product enables students to quickly foster the habit of efficient learning and improve performance in a short period of time. The other product is to help about 30 million physically disabled people to return to normal life. In fact, many people acknowledge us as “Iron Man”. But in reality, what we do is create 30 million “Iron Men” in China.

针对我国80%的小学生存在注意力缺陷这一问题,BrainCo的一项基于脑机接口技术的教育领域的产品名为“赋思头环”(“Focus”),分为家庭版(Focus 1)与学校版(Focus EDU)两个版本。“赋思头环”能够采集佩戴者的脑电波信号,并把这些脑电波信号转化成注意力指数,可以实时跟踪学习者的注意力情况,这是全球首款监测与提升注意力的头环。通过课程,使用者可以通过21天的训练,养成保持专注力的好习惯。
Given the attention deficit disorder in 80% of the primary school students in China, BrainCo developed a headband named “Focus”, which comes in two versions, i.e. Focus 1 home version and Focus EDU school version. “Focus” can collect the brainwave signals of the wearer and convert these brainwave signals into attention index, tracking the learner’s attention in real time. This is the world’s first headband to monitor and improve attention. Users can nurture a good habit of maintaining concentration through 21 days of training.

韩璧丞5

目前,赋思头环已走进中国、美国、巴西、西班牙、墨西哥等国家的上千所学校,累计帮助超过15000名学生注意力获得提升。
So far, “Focus” has been put in practice in thousands of schools in China, the United States, Brazil, Spain, Mexico and other countries, helping more than 15,000 students improve attention.

听起来,这简直就像“超能力”。
It sounds literally like “super power.”

“生活的另一种可能性”
“Another possibility of life”

作为食物链顶端的生物,人类与世间万物如此与众不同,这一特殊化的秘密隐藏在控制人类行为的最高级器官之中——人类大脑。然而,科学家研究表明,人类大脑目前只开发不到10%,还有90%的潜能没有激活。电影《超体》中,女主角的脑潜能因为某种原因开发到了100%,拥有了几乎堪比超人的能力。
As a creature at the top of the food chain, human beings are so different from other creatures in the world. This secret that differentiates mankind lies in in the most advanced organ that controls human behavior – the human brain. However, based on scientific research, the human brain has only developed less than 10%, with 90% of the potential inactivated. In the film Lucy, the brain potential of the heroine was developed to 100% for some reason, granting her the comparable abilities of Superman.

大脑的神奇魔力在于,它看似拥有绝对限制,实际又充满了无限可能性。可以说,控制大脑,就能控制万物;改变人类大脑,必能改变世界。
The magical power of the brain is that it seems to have absolute limits, yet it is actually full of infinite possibilities. It is deemed that by controlling the brain, you can control everything; changing the human brain will change the world.

神秘的脑科学领域之中仍存在许多无法解答的难题,人们期待寻求到更好的探索工具。BrainCo致力于研发出预防、诊断、治疗脑部疾病及其他重大疾病的技术,并广泛应用于睡眠管理、智能生活和残疾人康复等领域。这也是当前社会最被关注的核心问题——如何提升人类的生活质量。
There are still many unsolved problems in the mysterious field of brain science, and people are looking for better exploratory tools. BrainCo is dedicated to the development of technologies for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment of brain diseases and other major diseases, and aim to widely use the technologies in the fields of sleep management, smart living, rehabilitation of disabled people and so on. This is also the most socially concerned core issue – how to better mankind’s life quality.

韩璧丞6

韩璧丞研究了10年。
Bicheng Han has been studying this for 10 years.

2019年的CES,由BrainCo团队研制的一款智能假肢获得了CES2019最佳创新奖。
At CES2019, a smart prosthesis developed by the BrainCo team won the Best of Innovation Award.

艾诚:我知道2019年对于BrainCo最大的一个在CES的好消息,就是你们有一款假肢,获得了CES2019创新奖,能不能介绍一下?
Gloria Ai: I know the best news for BrainCo at CES2019 is that a prosthesis developed by your company won the CES2019 Innovation Award. Can you introduce this?

韩璧丞:传统的智能假肢基本上只能做开和张这两个动作,然后即便是这样的假肢,它的价格也要6万美金左右,大概50万人民币。我们的假肢,是用一个非模态训练下的可以做自由控制的智能假肢,而且这个价格是原来的1/20,只要3000美金左右,大概2万人民币。所以说,这款产品,今年超越了世界三大假肢厂,获得了今年CES的最佳创新奖。
Bicheng Han: The traditional smart prosthesis can only either open up or stretch. Even such a prosthesis is priced at about USD $60,000, i.e. around RMB 500,000 yuan. Our prosthesis is a smart one that can be freely controlled under non-modal training status, and the price is 1/20 of the traditional, which is about USD $3,000, i.e. RMB 20,000 yuan. Therefore, this product has surpassed the performance of the world’s three major prosthetic manufacturers this year and won the Best of Innovation Award at CES2019.

艾诚:什么样的创新技术可以获得商业上的成功,或者能够获得持续的成长?我们发现它是越符合人性,越让人类的生活变得更美好。那是否可以理解,BrainCo主要是帮助残疾人通过假肢的方式,走向更美好的生活呢?
Gloria Ai: What kind of innovative technology can achieve commercial success, or can continue to grow? We noticed that the more it fits human nature, the better it makes the human life. Is my understanding correct that BrainCo mainly aims to help the disabled head towards a better life with prostheses?

韩璧丞:其实,BrainCo主要做的事情是属于人类增强的范畴。第一个阶段,我们是让这些需要帮助的残疾人,和比如说注意力没法集中的人,还有自闭症的人,或者是ADHD这些人,让他恢复到正常生活当中。另一部分,我们是让正常人拥有更强的能力,比如说让他有以前更好的控制方式,比如通过意识来去控制一些外部的设备,比如让人训练更好的专注力。
Bicheng Han: As a matter of fact, what BrainCo does should be categorized into human enhancement. At the first stage, we help the disabled who need assistance, those who can’t concentrate, people with autism, or those with ADHD return to normal life. Second of all, we equip ordinary people with enhanced abilities. For example, people can have better means of control, such as controlling some external devices through consciousness, or people can improve their concentration via training.

韩璧丞7

有人说,科技发展的过程,实际上就是强者间接将物质或精神产物投入到弱者身上,所以科技的发展与救济弱者并不矛盾,这与科学家们特有的“济世情怀”相吻合,宏观来说就是知识分子与生俱来的“理想主义”。也就意味着,好的科技成果不仅能使我们的世界结构“天翻地覆”,还应该符合人性:能够保护弱者,为人类创造出“生活的另一种可能性”。
Some people say that the process of scientific and technological development actually endows physical or mental powers to the vulnerable from the strong. Hence, scientific and technological development is not in conflict with the relief of the vulnerable. It’s consistent with “benevolent sentiment” of scientists. Generally speaking, it is the “idealism” that intellectuals are born with, which means that notable scientific and technological achievements can not only overturn how the world works, but also should be in line with human nature, protecting the weak and creating “another possibility of life” for human beings.

尤其,世界上顶级的脑机接口实验室一共就14个,研究这个领域的专家也非常少,所以,在这样一个非常小的领域,并不是“有钱就能推磨”,因为“烧钱”绝不一定能够带来真正的突破,而是看谁能够召集到最核心的人。
In particular, there are a total of 14 top brain-machine interface laboratories in the world and very few experts in this field. Therefore, in such a boutique field, it is not “money talks”, because “squandering money” does not necessarily lead to a real breakthrough. It depends on who is capable of gathering the top minds.

对此,韩璧丞底气十足:“在BrainCo我们至少有10名博士生可以去做教授,但是他们放弃了做教授,来到BrainCo去做底层技术。包括MIT去年评了35岁以下的35个专家,我们也是唯一一个代表脑机接口进入这个领域的人。”
In this regard, Bicheng Han is full of confidence: “At BrainCo, we have at least 10 doctoral students who can be professors, but they gave up on it and joined BrainCo to work on the underlying technology. Among the 35 experts below 35 reviewed by MIT last year, we’re the only representative of the brain-machine interface nominated.

韩璧丞8

在创业之前,韩璧丞首先是一个心怀希望的科学家,这是他自我认知中的最主要身份,所以,他并不是“为了经商而经商”,起点的初衷是理想。他甚至对艾问透露,以后,他会回到科研工作这一块。
Before starting a business, Bicheng Han was first and foremost a scientist with ideals. This is the major identity in his self-recognition. Therefore, he does not “do business for the sake of it”. The primary intention of the start was driven by ideals. He even shared to Gloria Ai that in the future, he will return to the scientific research field.

“我觉得BrainCo的主要精力一定还是在研发和带动脑机接口的技术驱动上,所以对于我来讲,我永远不会成为一个商人,以后我一定会找到更好的人去做公司的CEO,去做公司的董事长,我可能之后就做一个公司的技术负责人,带领我们的科学家去往前冲”。韩璧丞的语气很踏实,眼神很真诚。
“I think the main focus of BrainCo must be on the R&D and facilitation of the technology of the brain-machine interface. So for me, I will never be a businessman. I will definitely find a better candidate to be the CEO or President of the company in the future. I may be a technology director of the company and lead our scientists to stride forward.” Bicheng Han spoke in a determined tone with sincere looks.

艾诚:有的人创业是为了商业上的成功,有的人是为了改变世界。你是为了什么呢?
Gloria Ai: Some people start their own business for business success, and some people yearn to change the world. What are you aiming for?

韩璧丞:其实对于BrainCo来讲,我们还是相信这个领域会对这个世界产生一个非常大的重构。比如我们有一句Slogan,叫做生活的另一种可能性,这个其实是对于残疾人来说,他们可以过更好的生活,他们可以像正常人一样,恢复到日常生活当中。
Bicheng Han: Actually, for BrainCo, we still believe that this field will exert a major impact on the restructuring of the world. For example, we have a slogan that goes “Another possibility of life”. Just like for the disabled, they can have a better life like ordinary people and return to normal daily routines.

我觉得十年后,我和我的团队,会成为脑机接口里面一些核心技术、突破性技术的发明人,人用意识控制外部设备、用意识操控外界设备,以及让残疾人恢复到正常生活中的一些技术,会由我们来发明。如果一切顺利的话,BrainCo会成为像谷歌、Facebook这样的公司,因为它会开启一个全新的领域
I believe that in ten years, my team and I will become the inventors of some core technologies and breakthroughs in the brain-machine interface. We will invent the technologies of using consciousness to control external devices and enable the disabled to return to normal life. If all goes well, BrainCo will become a company like Google and Facebook, because it will open up a whole new field.

你敢不敢相信,他能“改变世界”?
Do you believe that he can “change the world”?

韩璧丞9

韩璧丞10

END