Engineering the Nervous System: Solutions to Restore Sight, Hearing, and Mobility

Sunday, February 17, 2013: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room 302 (Hynes Convention Center)
The fields of neuroprosthetics and bioengineering offer hope for many that they may one day be able to see the world around them, walk on their own, or grasp, touch, and hear normally. To restore or enable these functions, a multitude of interfaces and approaches are necessary. This symposium highlights pioneering researchers from Europe and the United States who view the nervous system as engineerable and are working to make a new generation of bionic devices feasible. They are decoding motor commands and developing soft, flexible electronics that interface with the spinal cord and auditory brainstem; genetically engineering the human auditory and visual systems; and coming close to perfecting cortico-spinal prosthetics to reclaim voluntary locomotion after complete spinal cord injury. The scientists are optimistic for the future, yet recognize the challenges in getting these technologies out of the lab and into clinical settings. Live demonstrations at the intersection of engineering and neuroscience will show how close we are to entering a new era in the way science interfaces with the nervous system.
Sanna Fowler, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Silvestro Micera, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Controlling a Prosthetic Hand with Peripheral Neural Interfaces
Grégoire Courtine, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Walking Again After Spinal Cord Injury
Joan Miller, Harvard Medical School
Saving Sight in Retinal Disease
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