THIS MONTH'S TOPIC: Your Brain on Computers
Back in the 70s, did you ever fantasize about the idea of a Bionic Man who could play Pong using only his mind? Here in the 21st century, microelectrodes planted inside quadriplegics' brains translate the neural activity of thoughts into signals that can move a computer cursor, control a robotic arm, and yes, play Pong! Although in their infancy, the exciting innovations of neuromodulation and brain-computer interface have already helped people with spinal cord injuries, blindness, deafness, depression, and disorders like epilepsy and Parkinson's. For example, devices like NeuroPace's RNS Neurostimulator, implanted in the brains of epileptics, are able to detect abnormal electrical activity in the brain and attempt to prevent seizures. This incredible technology may also lead you to wonder about bioethically sticky non-therapeutic applications like enhancing cognitive ability or athletic skill. Biomedical engineer Brett Wingeier will lead what promises to be a fascinating discussion.
ABOUT THE SERIES: Ask a Scientist is an informative, entertaining, monthly lecture series, held at a San Francisco cafe. Each event features a speaker on a scientific topic, a short presentation, and the opportunity to ask all those burning questions that have been keeping you up at night. No tests, grades, or pressure…just food, drinks, socializing, and conversation about the universe’s most fascinating mysteries.
ADMISSION IS FREE, but please support our generous hosts at Horatius by bringing your appetite and enjoying dinner during the talk.
Official Website: http://askascientistsf.com
Added by fourquarts on December 20, 2009