Adam Hall doesn’t just want to get people’s attention. He also wants to measure it to point out where they lose focus.
That’s the mission of his Naples-based company, Nervanix, which uses neuroscience to help people learn more effectively. Hall already has more than a decade of experience in education technology as co-founder of Impact Education, which created tutorial and assessment software for schools.
With this new venture, he makes a shift into corporate training and other learning areas. But one thing remains consistent: “If a learner isn’t engaged, there’s no point in trying to teach them,” he says.
Hall got the idea for Nervanix after talking with superintendents about a lack of student engagement. “I began to think, what if we were able to measure attention and use that to inform instruction?” he says.
He knew there were electroencephalogram devices measuring brainwave patterns already being used for gaming and other areas. To figure out how to apply it to education, he talked with folks such as Dr. Steve Miller, who’d used neuroscience for learning improvement at another company he’d co-founded. Miller came on board as Nervanix’s chief science officer.
Nervanix formally became an LLC in January 2015 and started selling its products that same year. Its flagship product is Nervanix Clarity, which is already being used by several companies for employee training and professional development. Nervanix’s propriety software is bundled with an EEG headset that measures the wearer’s attention level while studying. Once finished, they can go back and see where their attention dipped and further review might be needed. It costs $100 for the headset and $100 per year per user for the software (which scales down with volume).
For the same price, the company also offers Nervanix Insight, what Hall calls “real-time attention training.”
When a user’s attention falls below a certain point, their screen dims to get them refocused on the information. Nervanix also does consulting work with clients to test how engaging their training material is.
The company has been selffinanced by Hall to this point, but he’s starting to talk with angel investors and venture-capital firms. “We need that capital to scale up our sales and marketing and really start to execute on our business model,” he says. “We’ve just started to scratch the surface, but once people catch on to what we’re doing, we won’t find it difficult to raise money.”