Better recording with flexible backing on a brain-computer interface (BCI)

This work has already been patented, from a March 15, 2022 news item on ScienceDaily,

Engineering researchers have invented an advanced brain-computer interface with a flexible and moldable backing and penetrating microneedles. Adding a flexible backing to this kind of brain-computer interface allows the device to more evenly conform to the brain’s complex curved surface and to more uniformly distribute the microneedles that pierce the cortex. The microneedles, which are 10 times thinner than the human hair, protrude from the flexible backing, penetrate the surface of the brain tissue without piercing surface venules, and record signals from nearby nerve cells evenly across a wide area of the cortex.

This novel brain-computer interface has thus far been tested in rodents. The details were published online on February 25 [2022] in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. This work is led by a team in the lab of electrical engineering professor Shadi Dayeh at the University of California San Diego, together with researchers at Boston University led by biomedical engineering professor Anna Devor.

Caption: Artist rendition of the flexible, conformable, transparent backing of the new brain-computer interface with penetrating microneedles developed by a team led by engineers at the University of California San Diego in the laboratory of electrical engineering professor Shadi Dayeh. The smaller illustration at bottom left shows the current technology in experimental use called Utah Arrays. Credit: Shadi Dayeh / UC San Diego / SayoStudio

A March 14, 2022 University of California at San Diego news release (also on EurekAlert but published March 15, 2022), which originated the news item, delves further into the topic,

This new brain-computer interface is on par with and outperforms the “Utah Array,” which is the existing gold standard for brain-computer interfaces with penetrating microneedles. The Utah Array has been demonstrated to help stroke victims and people with spinal cord injury. People with implanted Utah Arrays are able to use their thoughts to control robotic limbs and other devices in order to restore some everyday activities such as moving objects.

The backing of the new brain-computer interface is flexible, conformable, and reconfigurable, while the Utah Array has a hard and inflexible backing. The flexibility and conformability of the backing of the novel microneedle-array favors closer contact between the brain and the electrodes, which allows for better and more uniform recording of the brain-activity signals. Working with rodents as model species, the researchers have demonstrated stable broadband recordings producing robust signals for the duration of the implant which lasted 196 days. 

In addition, the way the soft-backed brain-computer interfaces are manufactured allows for larger sensing surfaces, which means that a significantly larger area of the brain surface can be monitored simultaneously. In the Advanced Functional Materials paper, the researchers demonstrate that a penetrating microneedle array with 1,024 microneedles successfully recorded signals triggered by precise stimuli from the brains of rats. This represents ten times more microneedles and ten times the area of brain coverage, compared to current technologies.

Thinner and transparent backings

These soft-backed brain-computer interfaces are thinner and lighter than the traditional, glass backings of these kinds of brain-computer interfaces. The researchers note in their Advanced Functional Materials paper that light, flexible backings may reduce irritation of the brain tissue that contacts the arrays of sensors. 

The flexible backings are also transparent. In the new paper, the researchers demonstrate that this transparency can be leveraged to perform fundamental neuroscience research involving animal models that would not be possible otherwise. The team, for example, demonstrated simultaneous electrical recording from arrays of penetrating micro-needles as well as optogenetic photostimulation.

Two-sided lithographic manufacturing

The flexibility, larger microneedle array footprints, reconfigurability and transparency of the backings of the new brain sensors are all thanks to the double-sided lithography approach the researchers used. 

Conceptually, starting from a rigid silicon wafer, the team’s manufacturing process allows them to build microscopic circuits and devices on both sides of the rigid silicon wafer. On one side, a flexible, transparent film is added on top of the silicon wafer. Within this film, a bilayer of titanium and gold traces is embedded so that the traces line up with where the needles will be manufactured on the other side of the silicon wafer. 

Working from the other side, after the flexible film has been added, all the silicon is etched away, except for free-standing, thin, pointed columns of silicon. These pointed columns of silicon are, in fact, the microneedles, and their bases align with the titanium-gold traces within the flexible layer that remains after the silicon has been etched away. These titanium-gold traces are patterned via standard and scalable microfabrication techniques, allowing scalable production with minimal manual labor. The manufacturing process offers the possibility of flexible array design and scalability to tens of thousands of microneedles.  

Toward closed-loop systems

Looking to the future, penetrating microneedle arrays with large spatial coverage will be needed to improve brain-machine interfaces to the point that they can be used in “closed-loop systems” that can help individuals with severely limited mobility. For example, this kind of closed-loop system might offer a person using a robotic hand real-time tactical feedback on the objects the robotic hand is grasping.  

Tactile sensors on the robotic hand would sense the hardness, texture, and weight of an object. This information recorded by the sensors would be translated into electrical stimulation patterns which travel through wires outside the body to the brain-computer interface with penetrating microneedles. These electrical signals would provide information directly to the person’s brain about the hardness, texture, and weight of the object. In turn, the person would adjust their grasp strength based on sensed information directly from the robotic arm. 

This is just one example of the kind of closed-loop system that could be possible once penetrating microneedle arrays can be made larger to conform to the brain and coordinate activity across the “command” and “feedback” centers of the brain.

Previously, the Dayeh laboratory invented and demonstrated the kinds of tactile sensors that would be needed for this kind of application, as highlighted in this video.

Pathway to commercialization

The advanced dual-side lithographic microfabrication processes described in this paper are patented (US 10856764). Dayeh co-founded Precision Neurotek Inc. to translate technologies innovated in his laboratory to advance state of the art in clinical practice and to advance the fields of neuroscience and neurophysiology.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Scalable Thousand Channel Penetrating Microneedle Arrays on Flex for Multimodal and Large Area Coverage BrainMachine Interfaces by Sang Heon Lee, Martin Thunemann, Keundong Lee, Daniel R. Cleary, Karen J. Tonsfeldt, Hongseok Oh, Farid Azzazy, Youngbin Tchoe, Andrew M. Bourhis, Lorraine Hossain, Yun Goo Ro, Atsunori Tanaka, Kıvılcım Kılıç, Anna Devor, Shadi A. Dayeh. Advanced Functional Materials DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202112045 First published (online): 25 February 2022

This paper is open access.

Regenerative architecture and Michael Pawlyn (a keynote speaker at Vancouver’s [Canada] Zero Waste Conference)

Michael Pawlyn who founded Exploration Architecture, an architectural practice with a focus on regenerative design will be in Vancouver during the Zero Waste Conference, September 28 -29, 2022. A keynote speaker (from his speaker’s page),

Michael Pawlyn has been described as an expert in regenerative design and biomimicry. He established his firm Exploration Architecture in 2007 to focus on high performance buildings and solutions for the circular economy.

Prior to setting up Exploration, he worked with Grimshaw for ten years and was central to the team that designed the Eden Project.

Michael jointly initiated the widely acclaimed Sahara Forest Project. In 2019, he co-initiated ‘Architects Declare a Climate & Biodiversity Emergency’ which has spread internationally with over 7,000 companies signed up to addressing the planetary crisis.

Since 2018 he has been increasingly providing advice to national governments and large companies on transformative change. He is the author of two books, Biomimicry in Architecture and Flourish: Design Paradigms for Our Planetary Emergency, co-authored with Sarah Ichioka.

You can find out more about Pawlyn and biomimicry in a November 17, 2011 interviewe by Karissa Rosenfield for archdaily,

Why were you drawn to biomimicry? As a teenager I was torn between studying architecture and biology and eventually chose the former. I was also quite politicized about environmental issues in my early teens after a relative gave me a copy of the Club of Rome’s “Blueprint for Survival”. When I joined Grimshaw to work on the Eden Project, I realized that there was a way to bring these strands together in pursuit of sustainable architecture inspired by nature.

What are some of the most interesting examples, apart from the Eden Project, of existing architecture that uses biomimicry as its guiding principle? Pier Luigi Nervi’s Palazzetto dello Sport, an indoor arena in Rome, is a masterpiece of efficiency inspired by giant Amazon water lilies. Many of Nervi’s projects were won in competitions and the secret to his success was his ability to produce the most cost-effective schemes. In a satisfying parallel with the refining process of evolution, the combination of ingenuity and biomimicry led to a remarkable efficiency of resources.

The Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe by Mick Pearce, is based on termite mounds. It manages to create comfortable conditions for the people inside without air-conditioning in a tropical environment.

If you’re curious about the conference, it’s the 2022 Zero Waste Conference—A Future Without Waste: Regenerative and waste-free by design on September 28 & 29 in Vancouver, BC.

China and nanotechnology

it’s been quite a while since I’ve come across any material about Nanopolis, a scientific complex in China devoted to nanotechnology (as described in my September 26, 2014 posting titled, More on Nanopolis in China’s Suzhou Industrial Park). Note: The most recent , prior to now, information about the complex is in my June 1, 2017 posting, which mentions China’s Nanopolis and Nano-X endeavours.

Dr. Mahbube K. Siddiki’s March 12, 2022 article about China’s nanotechnology work in the Small Wars Journal provides a situation overview and an update along with a tidbit about Nanopolis, Note: Footnotes for the article have not been included here,

The Nanotechnology industry in China is moving forward, with substantially high levels of funding, a growing talent pool, and robust international collaborations. The strong state commitment to support this field of science and technology is a key advantage for China to compete with leading forces like US, EU, Japan, and Russia. The Chinese government focuses on increasing competitiveness in nanotechnology by its inclusion as strategic industry in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, reconfirming state funding, legislative and regulatory support. Research and development (R&D) in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology is a key component of the ambitious ‘Made in China 2025’ initiative aimed at turning China into a high-tech manufacturing powerhouse [1].

A bright example of Chinese nanotech success is the world’s largest nanotech industrial zone called ‘Nanopolis’, located in the eastern city of Suzhou. This futuristic city houses several private multinationals and new Chinese startups across different fields of nanotechnology and nanoscience. Needless to say, China leads the world’s nanotech startups. Involvement of private sector opens new and unique pools of funding and talent, focusing on applied research. Thus, private sector is leading in R&D in China, where state-sponsored institutions still dominate in all other sectors of rapid industrialization and modernization. From cloning to cancer research, from sea to space exploration, this massive and highly populated nation is using nanoscience and nanotechnology innovation to drive some of the world’s biggest breakthroughs, which is raising concerns in many other competing countries [3].

China has established numerous nanotech research institutions throughout the country over the years. Prominent universities like Peking University, City University of Hong Kong, Nanjing University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Soochow University, University of Science and Technology of China are the leading institutions that house state of art nanotech research labs to foster study and research of nanoscience and nanotechnology [5]. Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST) and Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics (SINANO) are top among the state sponsored specialized nanoscience and nanotechnology research centers, which have numerous labs and prominent researchers to conduct cutting edge research in the area of nanotechnology. Public-Private collaboration along with the above mentioned research institutes gave birth to many nanotechnology companies, most notable of them are Array Nano, Times Nano, Haizisi Nano Technology, Nano Medtech, Sun Nanotech, XP nano etc. [6]. These companies are thriving on the research breakthroughs China achieved recently in this sector. 

Here are some of the notable achievements in this sector by China. In June 2020, an international team of researchers led by Chinese scientists developed a new form of synthetic and  biodegradable nanoparticle [7]. This modifiable lipid nanoparticle is capable of targeting, penetrating, and altering cells by delivering the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool into a cell. This novel nanoparticle can be used in the treatment of some gene related disorders, as well as other diseases including some forms of cancer in the brain, liver, and lungs. At the State Key Laboratory of Robotics in the northeast city of Shenyang, researchers have developed a laser that produces a tiny gas bubble[8]. This bubble can be used as a tiny “robot” to manipulate and move materials on a nanoscale with microscopic precision. The technology termed as “Bubble bot” promises new possibilities in the field of artificial tissue creation and cloning [9].

In another report [13] it was shown that China surpassed the U.S. in chemistry in 2018 and now leading the later with a significant gap, which might take years to overcome. In the meantime, the country is approaching the US in Earth & Environmental sciences as well as physical sciences. According to the trend China may take five years or less to surpass US. On the contrary, in life science research China is lagging the US quite significantly, which might be attributed to both countries’ priority of sponsorship, in terms of funding. In fact, in the time of CORONA pandemic, US can use this gap for her strategic gain over China.

Outstanding economic growth and rapid technological advances of China over the last three decades have given her an unprecedented opportunity to play a leading role in contemporary geopolitical competition. The United States, and many of her partners and allies in the west as well as in Asia, have a range of concerns about how the authoritarian leadership in Beijing maneuver [sic] its recently gained power and position on the world stage. They are warily observing this regime’s deployment of sophisticated technology like “Nano” in ways that challenge many of their core interests and values all across the world. Though the U.S. is considered the only superpower in the world and has maintained its position as the dominant power of technological innovation for decades, China has made massive investments and swiftly implemented policies that have contributed significantly to its technological innovation, economic growth, military capability, and global influence. In some areas, China has eclipsed, or is on the verge of eclipsing, the United States — particularly in the rapid deployment of certain technologies, and nanoscience and nanotechnology appears to be the leading one. …

[About Dr. Siddiki]

Dr. Siddiki is an instructor of Robotic and Autonomous System in the Department of Multi-Domain Operations at the [US] Army Management Staff College where he teaches and does research in that area. He was Assistant Teaching Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the School of Computing and Engineering at University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC). In UMKC, Dr. Siddiki designed, developed and taught undergraduate and graduate level courses, and supervised research works of Ph.D., Master and undergraduate students. Dr. Siddiki’s research interests lie in the area of nano and quantum tech, Robotic and Autonomous System, Green Energy & Power, and their implications in geopolitics.

As you can see in the article, there are anxieties over China’s rising dominance with regard to scientific research and technology; these anxieties have become more visible since I started this blog in 2008.

I was piqued to see that Dr. Siddiki’s article is in the Small Wars Journal and not in a journal focused on science, research, technology, and/or economics. I found this explanation for the term, ‘small wars’ on the journal’s About page (Note: A link has been removed),

Small Wars” is an imperfect term used to describe a broad spectrum of spirited continuation of politics by other means, falling somewhere in the middle bit of the continuum between feisty diplomatic words and global thermonuclear war.  The Small Wars Journal embraces that imperfection.

Just as friendly fire isn’t, there isn’t necessarily anything small about a Small War.

The term “Small War” either encompasses or overlaps with a number of familiar terms such as counterinsurgency, foreign internal defense, support and stability operations, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and many flavors of intervention.  Operations such as noncombatant evacuation, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance will often either be a part of a Small War, or have a Small Wars feel to them.  Small Wars involve a wide spectrum of specialized tactical, technical, social, and cultural skills and expertise, requiring great ingenuity from their practitioners.  The Small Wars Manual (a wonderful resource, unfortunately more often referred to than read) notes that:

Small Wars demand the highest type of leadership directed by intelligence, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. Small Wars are conceived in uncertainty, are conducted often with precarious responsibility and doubtful authority, under indeterminate orders lacking specific instructions.

The “three block war” construct employed by General Krulak is exceptionally useful in describing the tactical and operational challenges of a Small War and of many urban operations.  Its only shortcoming is that is so useful that it is often mistaken as a definition or as a type of operation.

Who Are Those Guys?

Small Wars Journal is NOT a government, official, or big corporate site. It is run by Small Wars Foundation, a non-profit corporation, for the benefit of the Small Wars community of interest. The site principals are Dave Dilegge (Editor-in-Chief) and Bill Nagle (Publisher), and it would not be possible without the support of myriad volunteers as well as authors who care about this field and contribute their original works to the community. We do this in our spare time, because we want to.  McDonald’s pays more.  But we’d rather work to advance our noble profession than watch TV, try to super-size your order, or interest you in a delicious hot apple pie.  If and when you’re not flipping burgers, please join us.

The overview and analysis provided by Dr. Siddiki is very interesting to me and absent any conflicting data, I’m assuming it’s solid work. As for the anxiety that permeates the article, this is standard. All countries are anxious about who’s winning the science and technology race. If memory serves, you can find an example of the anxiety in C.P. Snow’s classic lecture and book, Two Cultures (the book is “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution”) given/published in 1959. The British scientific establishment was very concerned that it was being eclipsed by the US and by the Russians.

Citizen science, empowerment, and global challenges

An August 25, 2022 news item on phys.org suggests that citizen science is becoming a more important component in scientific endeavours, Note: Links have been removed,

Citizen science is increasingly recognized as an important vehicle for democratizing science and promoting the goal of universal and equitable access to scientific data and information. IIASA [International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis] researchers actively contribute to the development of this scientific approach and have recently published a primer aimed at both established and aspiring practitioners of citizen science to highlight key issues and how to address them.

Citizen science has a long history and interested volunteers have participated in scientific inquiry for centuries, leading to some of the most extensive datasets and sources of information on among others, public health, pollution monitoring, and ecology and biodiversity tracking. Today, it offers unique opportunities to join science and research across the globe, empowering people to participate in the scientific process, to gather and share data and information, and to be equipped to contribute to collective action to address important challenges that we face locally and globally today.

An August 25, 2022 International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) press release (also on EurekAlert), which originated the news item, proposes better integrating citizen science into scientific practice,

IIASA is well known for developing innovative research methods to address global problems and citizen science is no exception. A new IIASA-led article just published in Nature Methods Reviews Primers, highlights how citizens can contribute meaningfully to scientific research, thereby becoming an integral part of integrated and evidence-based knowledge creation needed to address some of today’s most pressing challenges, including environmental pollution, food security, biodiversity loss, or the climate crisis. The authors also call attention to the impacts and great potential of citizen science for monitoring progress on ambitious global efforts like the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), large-scale data collection, and as a viable means to close data gaps and support inclusive decision-making.

Nature Methods Reviews Primers articles are high-quality, introductory review articles describing the current state-of-the-art for applying a specific scientific method. Being invited to write a primer on citizen science is important in two main ways. First, it underlines that the field is earning recognition within the scientific establishment as a valid and valuable approach. Secondly, it offers the opportunity to showcase the breadth and depth of citizen science possibilities to a wide range of scientists and researchers who are not yet familiar with it,” explains co-lead author Gerid Hager, a researcher in the Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group of the IIASA Advancing Systems Analysis Program.

One of the big advantages of citizen science is the fact that it promotes open data practices. In this way, the approach contributes to science innovation by opening science up to society and advancing collaborations between various actors, including citizens, which helps to make science more participatory and inclusive.

“When designed optimally, beyond addressing the data gaps to create effective policies and achieve sustainable development, citizen science can help establish more inclusive data ecosystems that empower individuals and communities, especially those that are hard-to-reach and marginalized,” notes co-lead author Dilek Fraisl, a researcher in the same group at IIASA.

In conclusion, the authors point out that the fields of application for citizen science methods and approaches continue to broaden in terms of subject matter and deepen in terms of the advancement of methodologies as more examples of citizen science research enter the mainstream scientific literature. The principles described in their primer have been successfully applied to a wide range of research domains, particularly in biodiversity research, earth observation and geography, climate change research, or environmental monitoring, which in turn contribute further to the development of both best practice and novel approaches within the ecological and environmental sciences.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Citizen science in environmental and ecological sciences by Dilek Fraisl, Gerid Hager, Baptiste Bedessem, Margaret Gold, Pen-Yuan Hsing, Finn Danielsen, Colleen B. Hitchcock, Joseph M. Hulbert, Jaume Piera, Helen Spiers, Martin Thiel & Mordechai Haklay. Nature Reviews Methods Primers volume 2, Article number: 64 (2022) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s43586-022-00144-4 Published: 25 August 2022

This paper appears to be open access.

I don’t usually include the Abstract here but I particularly like the way this one is written,

Citizen science is an increasingly acknowledged approach applied in many scientific domains, and particularly within the environmental and ecological sciences, in which non-professional participants contribute to data collection to advance scientific research. We present contributory citizen science as a valuable method to scientists and practitioners within the environmental and ecological sciences, focusing on the full life cycle of citizen science practice, from design to implementation, evaluation and data management. We highlight key issues in citizen science and how to address them, such as participant engagement and retention, data quality assurance and bias correction, as well as ethical considerations regarding data sharing. We also provide a range of examples to illustrate the diversity of applications, from biodiversity research and land cover assessment to forest health monitoring and marine pollution. The aspects of reproducibility and data sharing are considered, placing citizen science within an encompassing open science perspective. Finally, we discuss its limitations and challenges and present an outlook for the application of citizen science in multiple science domains.

If you are interested in IIASA itself, the website can be found here.

Graphene Week (September 5 – 9, 2022) is a celebration of 10 years of the Graphene Flagship

Back in 2013 the European Union announced two huge targeted research investments €1B each for the Graphene Flagship and the Human Brain Project to be distributed over 10 years. (I have an overview of the Graphene Flagship’s high points from 2013-15 in my April 22, 2016 posting.)

Now at the ten year mark and its final days, the Graphene Flagship is celebrating 10 years with a Graphene Week (from an August 30, 2022 Graphene Flagship press release on EurekAlert),

Graphene Week is a celebration of 10 years of the Graphene Flagship, a European Commission funded research project worth over €1 billion in funding. Held at BMW Welt — the exhibition space of one of the Graphene Flagship’s industrial partners based in Germany — the conference includes a comprehensive program of speakers, exhibitions, posters and a free pavilion.

The program includes a session on the European Chip Act, a notable point of debate for the continent. The act promises to mobilise more than €43 billion of both public and private investments to alleviate the global chip shortage. Graphene Week will demonstrate the potential of graphene-enabled alternatives to traditional semiconductors with the findings of the 2D-Experimental Pilot Line (2D-EPL).

The 2D-EPL is a €20 million project to integrate 2D materials into silicon wafers. The project has recently completed its first multi-project wafer (MPW) run, producing graphene integrated silicon wafers to academic and industrial customers.

During the conference Max Lemme of AMO GmbH in Germany and Sanna Arpiainen, of VTT Finland will discuss this subject along with the European Commission’s Thomas Skordas, Deputy Director General of DG CNECT and Bert De Colvenaer, Executive Director, KDT Joint Undertaking. Attendees can find the full program here.

The conference covers a large range of topics: from composites and medicine, to electronics and sensors. Beyond fundamental research, the talks by industry experts and European scientists will explore how graphene and related materials are disrupting critical European industries.

Graphene Week is co-chaired by Georg Duesberg from Bundeswehr University Munich and Elmar Bonaccurso, from Airbus Germany. In addition to Airbus, representatives from Lufthansa and other partners from the AEROGrAFT project will be in attendance, showcasing their graphene air filtration application for aircraft.   aircraft. 

Graphene Week will also host its Graphene Innovation Forum, a dedicated space for scientists to meet those in industry. Interactive panel discussions with industrial representatives will dive into future trends of graphene applications. The Innovation forum will feature speakers from both the Graphene Flagship’s large industrial partners including Medica, Lufthansa, Nokia and Airbus and smaller companies including Graphene Flagship spin-offs Emberion, BeDimensional and Qurv.

The Open Forum will collate some of the leading experts of the Graphene Flagship for a panel discussion on the success of graphene research and innovation where the audience is encouraged to ask questions. And the Diversity in Graphene initiative will offer a panel discussion focused on career development and professional use of social media.

The Graphene Flagship welcomes the public to explore the Graphene Pavilion in BMW Welt. The exhibition will showcase applications for graphene for cars, planes, phones and cities, together with product demos and videos. This pavilion will be free and open to the public from 9am on Friday 9 September to 6pm on Sunday 11 September.

“The Graphene Flagship is one of the largest ever EU projects, forming a network of 171 academic and industrial partners from 22 countries,” explained Jari Kinaret, Director of the Graphene Flagship. “In the 17th  edition, Graphene Week provides an opportunity to demonstrate the successes of the project and the ongoing legacy it will have on Europe’s industry. We look forward to welcoming our academic and industrial partners to join us in Munich for this celebration.”

More information on Graphene Week, access to the speaker line up and full scientific program can be found on the Graphene Flagship website. Registration provides access to all scientific sessions, sponsored sessions, access to the exhibition, conference material and more. To register click here.

This is the BMW Welt,

Looks like something out of a science fiction movie, eh?

You can find (Graphene Flagship spinoff companies), Emberion website here, BeDimensional website here, and Qurv Technologies website here.