A tech company based in Glasgow that develops tiny, wearable sensors to detect magnetic fields generated by the organs of the body has raised almost £2 million in funding.

Neuranics has secured the £1.9m investment in a funding round led by Edinburgh-based venture capital firm, Par Equity.

The University of Glasgow’s investment company, GU Holdings, the University of Edinburgh’s venture investment fund, Old College Capital and Creator Fund, a London-based, early stage venture capital fund that backs scientific founding teams, also participated in the funding round.

Neuranics said its sensors detect tiny magnetic signals from organs of the body – for example the heart and muscles of the arms – and could transform the current shortcomings of health and fitness monitoring devices and also ‘human-machine interfaces.’ These include, for example, controlling a robotic hand, or interacting with virtual objects in the metaverse.

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Noel McKenna, Neuranics chief executive, said: “The company has huge potential to be a major contributor to large consumer electronics companies worldwide. We could see a situation where our technology appears in hundreds of millions of consumer products a year.”

Neuranics will use the funding to complete its research and development and grow staff numbers from nine currently to 25 in the next one to two years. It will also start sales and marketing activity and buy some equipment.

The company’s newest sensors are 1mm square and sit on or just above the skin, for example inside a plastic band. Every part of the body that moves produces a magnetic signal and magnetic sensing produces much higher quality pictures of this signal than traditional techniques, Mr McKenna explained.

Neuranics said its sensors were low-cost, scalable, low-power, and operate at room temperature, as opposed to the current method of measuring magnetic signals, which are characterised by large, complex, expensive, lab or clinic-based equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners.

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The company said its magnetocardiography sensors – which measure magnetic fields produced by electrical currents in the heart through a single point of contact with the body – were easier to use than traditional electrocardiography sensors, which record the heart’s electrical signal to check for different heart conditions and need three electrodes attached to the body.

Neuranics’ magnetomyography sensing system – which measures muscle activity non-invasively using magnetic signals – can also estimate single finger movements by detecting the magnetic activity of the forearm muscles, the company said.

These sensors can reduce time lag issues when humans are trying to control machines such as computer games consoles, for example.

Robert Higginson, partner at Par Equity, said: “Rarely do we discover both a transformational technology and such a well-rounded team, with whom we can partner over the long-term to create a company capable of radically improving a broad range of use cases in a number of industry verticals.”

Neuranics is based in Bath Street in Glasgow and was founded in 2021 as a joint spinout from the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh.

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Its co-founders are Hadi Heidari, chief technology officer and professor of nanoelectronics at the University of Glasgow; Dr Siming Zu, lead engineer and professor of digital health at University of Edinburgh and Kia Nazarpour, Neuranics’ chief strategy officer.

Alexandra Ntemourtsidou, director of operations at Creator Fund, said Neuranics was addressing a “significant bottleneck” in technology development and would enable a “leap forward” in capturing brain signals with magnetic sensing technologies.

Andrea Young, head of investment at Old College Capital, said: “The Neuranics team is extremely ambitious and we look forward to working with them to achieve the company’s potential across multiple market segments.”

Uzma Khan, vice-president of economic development & innovation at University of Glasgow, said: “Neuranics is another example of how research activities at Scottish universities generate innovation that can lead to scalable business creation in Scotland.”