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Better, Stronger, Faster: The Future of the Bionic Body

Saturday, May 31, 2014
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

The deaf begin to hear. The blind begin to see. Once damaged hearts begin to pump blood. Forget “wearable tech”—we’ve entered a zone where deploying engineering and circuitry inside the human body can help erase disabilities and, more controversially, enhance human capacities beyond their evolutionary limits. Peek into a future where technology will have the capacity to make us stronger, faster and by some measures, better.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

Moderator

Bill BlakemoreNews Correspondent

Bill Blakemore became a reporter for ABC News 46 years ago, covering a wide variety of stories. He spearheaded ABC’s coverage of global warming, traveling from the tropics to polar regions to report on its impacts, dangers, and possible remedies.

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Participants

John DonoghueNeuroscientist

Professor John Donoghue was the founding chairman of the Department of Neuroscience at Brown, a position he held for thirteen years. He is currently the director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science, which unites more than one hundred Brown faculty members to support interdisciplinary research on the nervous system.

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Jennifer FrenchParalympian

Jennifer French is the 2012 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, a silver medalist in sailing, and a quadriplegic. She is the first woman to receive the implanted Stand and Transfer system, an experimental device that uses implanted electrodes and an external control device.

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Joseph J. FinsPhysician, Medical Ethicist

Joseph J. Fins is The E. William Davis, Jr. M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics and Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College where he is a tenured Professor of Medicine, Professor of Medical Ethics in Neurology and Professor of Health Care Policy and Research.

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P. Hunter PeckhamMedical and Biological Engineer

Hunter Peckham works on functional electrical stimulation, a method to restore limb control in paralyzed individuals. The technique uses implantable neural prostheses to control the muscles.

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Location