SberDevices team patents first developments in wearable magnetometers

Jul 14, 2021

SberDevices has been granted a patent for team member Alexandra Bernadotte’s wearable high-precision magnetometer from the Federal Service for Intellectual Property. The patented technology is capable of measuring small and medium-sized magnetic fields (particularly those produced by the human brain) against the Earth’s magnetic field and other static magnetic noises. The advantage of the device is that it does not require shielding, is portable, and functions in everyday conditions, whereas current SQUIDs[1] only work in a special room at a temperature of approximately −200 °С.

The patent gives SberDevices the opportunity to carry out basic and applied research that will enable them to measure the work of the brain in order to develop high-precision brain-computer interfaces (neural interfaces). The technology’s areas of application are not limited to neural interfaces: magnetometers can be used to quickly, accurately, and inexpensively diagnose diseases in medicine, to study artifacts without damaging them in archaeology, to detect devices on a person’s body or hidden spaces for security purposes, to discover water, oil, and other mineral resources in geology, and to study local magnetic fields at space stations in astronomy. It can be used in many other fields.

Here at SberDevices, we strive not only to keep up with current technological trends, but to set them, too. Our R&D division is intensively exploring the most promising fields, including neural interfaces, which is a track that leading tech companies worldwide are studying. We are certain that the SberDevices team’s R&D developments will have a significant impact on science and technology and will enable us to take a major step toward creating next generation devices.

Konstantin Kruglov

CEO of SberDevices, Senior Vice President for New Digital Spaces, Sberbank

The patented technology is unique in that it measures magnetic fields using a gradiometer made from a combination of nuclear magnetometers with an optical pumping effect. This solution made it possible to design an unparalleled device capable of measuring small magnetic fields assessed at a few units or tens of femtotesla, including magnetic fields produced by the human brain, against magnetic noise. The magnetometer is portable and does not require special conditions to function.

The technology is the first of its kind worldwide in terms of size and precision. Its theoretical sensitivity is tens or hundreds of times higher than that of current SQUIDs. The industrial versions of wearable devices can be relatively inexpensive to produce, while a current SQUID with comparable but a lower accuracy of tens or hundreds of femtotesla is hundreds of thousands of times costlier to produce.

Alexandra Bernadotte, the author of the invention, is a neural interfaces team lead with SberDevices’ Experimental ML Systems Development (headed by Sergey Markov). Bernadotte, PhD, MD, Karolinen Institutet (Sweden), Saint Petersburg State University, Moscow State University, has published over 20 scientific papers and has taught at universities all over the world.

[1] SQUID, for superconducting quantum interference device.