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Creating truly bionic hands a reality? With brain implants.
May 30, 2015 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm$10 - $30
Opposable thumbs are pretty cool things. But our ability to manipulate objects requires a sense of touch from the hand. The typical prosthetic arm to date has lacked that critical element. Now, researchers are developing ways to create that critical sense of touch – including information about precise location, pressure and timing — through “intracortical microstimulation of somatosensory cortex,” or in other words, brain implants. Come learn about this fascinating research aimed at restoring touch to those who have lost limbs.
Sliman J. Bensmaia is an assistant professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago where he is also a member of the Committees on Neurobiology and on Computational Neuroscience. Bensmaia is one the world’s leading experts on the neural basis of the sense of touch, and has been leading efforts to restore the sense of touch in neuroprostheses by interfacing directly with the brain.
Bensmaia received a B.A. in cognitive science from the University of Virginia in 1995, and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in 2003, under the tutelage of Mark Hollins. He then joined the laboratory of Kenneth Johnson at the Johns Hopkins University Krieger Mind/Brain Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, initially as a postdoctoral fellow and then an associate research scientist.
Bensmaia has received the prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, an early career award from the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from UNC. His work is regularly featured in the mainstream media, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine, CBC, WIRED, etc.