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

In the future, a woman with a spinal cord injury could make a full recovery; a baby with a weak heart could pump his own blood. How close are we today to the bold promise of bionics—and could this technology be used to improve normal human functions, as well as to repair us? Join Bill Blakemore, John Donoghue, Jennifer French, Joseph J. Fins, and P. Hunter Peckham at “Better, Stronger, Faster,” part of the Big Ideas Series, as they explore the unfolding future of embedded technology.

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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

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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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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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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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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