November 6, 2013
Start Time: 6 pm
End Time: 7:30 pm
Location: JFK Student Center lounge
Jan Scheuermann, a cybernetics pioneer, will present “The lighter side of being a lab rat” at Saint Francis University on Wednesday, November 6, from 6-7:30 pm in the JFK Student Center lounge. This extraordinary woman is the mom of a Saint Francis student and a research participant in an innovative program at UPMC and University of Pittsburgh to connect robotic prosthetics directly to the human brain.
Scheuermann, who is a quadriplegic due to a rare spinal cerebellar degeneration, will talk about her role in brain-computer interface trials. She will detail her experience training her brain to fire neurons in a coordinated way, with the goal of controlling a robotic device through thought alone, something the brain is not principally evolved to do.
She has helped to show that the flexibility of the brain is awe inspiring. The research Scheuermann is involved in will, over the next several decades, hopefully lead to prosthetics that are fully integrated into the brain. Patients will not only be able to control robotic prosthetics, but will have the feedback of the sensation of touch directly from the device to the patient’s brain. There may well come a time when, functionally speaking, paraplegia and quadriplegia will no longer be the severe disabilities that they are today. This research will also benefit accident victims and members of our armed forces who have spinal cord damage or who have lost limbs.
The lecture is free and is open to the public. The event is sponsored by the University’s School of Arts & Letters, and departments of chemistry, general education, and physical therapy. For more information about Scheuermann’s story, visit: bit.ly/lightersideofbeingalabrat.
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