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LUMINOUS: Transforming Neuroscience from Theory to Practice

In 2016, a consortium led by Barcelona’s Starlab, alongside seven European research organizations, embarked on an ambitious endeavor known as the LUMINOUS project, funded under the Horizon 2020 framework. Our mission at Starlab has always been to transform groundbreaking scientific research into technologies that positively impact society—a vision that LUMINOUS not only embraced but advanced in profound ways.

The Vision Behind LUMINOUS

The goal of LUMINOUS was to develop a general framework for understanding and altering consciousness levels through innovative techniques. By integrating artificial intelligence, computer simulations, and electrical brain stimulation, the project addressed disorders of consciousness and related conditions such as anesthesia and sleep management. This comprehensive approach aimed to revolutionize both diagnostic and therapeutic methods across various states of consciousness.

The Challenge of Early-Stage Technology

After the project ended, these technologies were at Technology Readiness Level 4-5 (TRL4-5), making market prospects seemingly distant. As an innovator, this phase was particularly challenging yet exhilarating, pushing the boundaries of applied neuroscience and computational models in real-world applications.

From Concept to Application

Four years post-project, after continuous development and strategic pivoting, these early-stage technologies have found substantial applications. Our work now supports pharmaceutical clinical trials, classifies sleep stages via EEG, and aids in patient stratification for non-invasive brain stimulation treatments. A digital biomarker we developed within LUMINOUS, which quantifies the complexity of spontaneous brain signals, now helps characterize responses to drugs, effects of cannabis, and signs of cognitive decline. Notably, our collaboration with the French biotech firm AELIS explores the complexity features as exploratory endpoints in therapy for mental disorders.

Expanding Starlab's Neurotechnology Offerings

Starlab, committed to applied neuroscience and neurotechnology, has enhanced its offerings by including the new complexity markers and AI techniques in our neurotechnology-as-a-service offer. Thus, we have translated the early-stage outcomes of LUMINOUS into practical tools that economically measure brain activity and effectively contribute to neurological health.

Exploring New Frontiers

Our focus includes exploring the utility of these technologies in psychoactive substances, which are closely related to consciousness. This area holds promise due to the increasing interest in the pharmaceutical industry for treating conditions such as depression, OCD, and PTSD.

Reflections on the Journey

Reflecting on this journey, our role as an innovator has been shaped by a continuous commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration, bridging the gap between theoretical research and tangible societal benefits. LUMINOUS not only transformed our understanding of consciousness but also demonstrated how early-stage scientific outcomes could be nurtured into impactful market-ready solutions. This experience has reinforced the importance of adaptability, collaboration, and vision in the pursuit of technological innovation that meets societal needs.


The LUMINOUS project has exemplified the transformative potential of combining cutting-edge research with strategic development. By pushing the frontiers of neuroscience and neurotechnology, we have been able to translate complex theoretical concepts into practical, market-ready solutions. As we continue to explore new applications and refine our technologies, the legacy of LUMINOUS will undoubtedly inspire future innovations that enhance our understanding and management of consciousness-related conditions.

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