Heather Ames



I have a strong interest in transferring brain-based technologies into real-world applications. I have pursued this in two ways. First, I am co-directing a technology transfer effort within CELEST at Boston University. This effort, the CELEST Catalyst, will create an intermediate solution between CELEST labs and researchers and outside industries. Its main goals are to promote collaboration between academia and industry by encouraging industry sponsorship of graduate students and internships, promote entrepreneurship through patent and SBIR/STTR workshops, and to generally market CELEST based technologies for outside industrial partners.

In addition to my work within CELEST, the start-up company that I co-founded, Neurala, has been actively building brain based technologies for a wide variety of applications. The company has worked with other companies involved in defense, conservation and agriculture, and general product development. Two of Neurala’s major projects are highlighted below.

Technology highlights

remote sensing
a Identifying objects in remote sensing data is a challenging task that requires highly skilled and costly human experts to analyze massive amount of digital data.  Neurala has developed a remote sensing software platform for the purpose of developing automatic methods to delineate water flow and soil loss from LIDAR data. The application of bio-inspired machine vision and classification algorithms is key to accurately and quickly process large amount of remote sensing data, extracting knowledge that is then applied to make better and faster decisions in soil conservation practices.


acoustic scene analysis
a Classifying sounds in real time in mobile platforms has great potential for civilian and military applications. Neurala collaborated with Biomimetic Systems (BMS) to perform acoustic scene classification for military applications. This work is part of a larger project called Red Owl, a collaboration between Boston University, iRobotInsight Technology, and BMS. The system, assembled for use on iRobot’s unmanned PackBot robots, models of which are now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, is designed to enhance the situational awareness of soldiers in the battlefield. The system is undergoing extensive testing by multiple groups within the armed forces.

Watch the videos of Neurala's Technology Platform while it classifies sounds in real-time