Our neurotech provides highly specific, structured auditory stimuli designed to facilitate the development of strong linguistic neural networks and optimize cognitive performance in infants and adults. By taking advantage of the brain’s inherent plasticity – its natural tendency to reshape itself in response to outside stimuli – we are able to deliver these stimuli in safe, non-invasive products that are responsive to the specific needs and capabilities of individual brains.
The proprietary algorithms embodied in our launch products are based on more than two decades of NIH- and NSF-backed, peer-reviewed and clinically validated research on how to improve rapid auditory processing (“RAP”). RAP, which is the ability to accurately perceive successive rapidly presented sounds, is central to a newborn’s ability to set up the brain for language and a key factor in the effectiveness with which individuals process language over the course of their lives.
Possibly the most important characteristic of the infant brain is its immense plasticity, the ability to reshape itself in response to sensory and experiential interactions with the surrounding environment. This plasticity enables the rapid development of the young brain and the establishment of the neuronal networks critical to cognitive function. It also provides the mechanism by which our products are able to gently, naturally and non-invasively support positive brain development.
One of the most critical jobs of a young brain is the development of the linguistic circuitry that supports language development and processing. From birth (if not before), a baby begins to concentrate on the tiny, rapid changes in sound that occur in its environment. Recognizing these transitions causes the infant to focus on acoustic cues that differentiate individual speech sounds. That focus allows the young brain to create tight connections among the groups of particular brain cells (or neurons) that must fire together to effectively process the individual sounds that occur most often in the surrounding environment – which are the phonemes of the baby’s native language. Collectively, these phonemic neuronal connections make up the infant’s linguistic or acoustic map and the sharpness of the connections determines how efficiently and automatically a child will be able to acquire and process language – with major implications for intellectual performance throughout life.
As a result, the early ability to discriminate acoustic cues through rapid auditory processing (RAP) is one of the core capabilities of the developing brain. In fact, our research has shown that an infant’s RAP ability at nine months is highly predictive of scores on language and cognitive performance tests at three and four years old - which themselves have been shown to be strongly associated with lifelong cognitive outcomes. In contrast, infants with weaker RAP skills form poor acoustic maps and can have difficulty learning to read because their brains have trouble matching the appropriate sound to a specific letter.
Even as infants mature, and through all stages of adulthood, RAP remains a key cognitive ability, continually supporting the brain’s efforts to maintain sharp neuronal connections in its acoustic map so that it can be an effective language processor. Given RAP’s foundational role in language development and use, we have placed the understanding of how to support the individual development and maintenance of RAP skills at the center of our research and product development efforts.
RAPID AUDITORY PROCESSING TECHNOLOGY (RAPT™)
Our Rapid Auditory Processing Technology or RAPT™ is a patented adaptive training algorithm that optimizes infants’ RAP skills so that they can establish the efficient neurological acoustic maps that are needed to support language acquisition, reading and learning. Clinical studies have shown that the auditory processing skills of babies exposed to RAPT™ - for as few as 8 to 10 minutes a week for 6 weeks - were twice as fast as those of untrained babies, and at levels associated with materially better later language and reading scores.
RAPT™’s first implementation is in RVI’s RAPT AABy™ (under development), an infant-friendly in-home robot that helps babies improve their rapid auditory processing and attentional skills through a fun, interactive audio-visual experience created to allow parents and caregivers to access the lab-validated benefits of RAPT™ for the children they love.
RVI has created a patented auditory environment using structured auditory sequences layered into background sound envelopes that encourage the brain to remain attentive to acoustic cues in the environment, even during sleep. That attentiveness facilitates the formation and strengthening of the neuronal connections that are essential to language processing at their development in infancy and throughout life, including in later stages of life when the degradation of those connections can impair the ability to process speech.
These soundtracks will initially be delivered through a sound soother (under development), with a range of sound tracks structured to ease babies into sleep while supporting their brains' continuing need to interact with the environment in the most positive fashion.