Bionic Ears, Bionic Everything Else: The Now and Future of Cyborg Technologies
Speaker: Michael Chorost
Series: MAE Departmental Seminars
Location: Bowen Hall Room 222
Date/Time: Friday, May 2, 2014, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Whats the reality of bionic body parts, and whats the hype? The most real bionic body part is the cochlear implant, better known as a bionic ear. First approved for commercial sale by the FDA in 1984 and greatly improved since, cochlear implants enable completely deaf people to hear. Michael Chorost will talk about what the world sounds like to him through his two cochlear implants. Hell use audio clips that simulate what they sound like, and discuss the science and engineering of how they work. Hell also discuss why other body parts have proven so much harder to replace. Wheres our bionic eyes? Wheres our superhero arms and legs? What is it about the ear that makes it so much easier to replace than just about everything else? The talk will be geared to first-year AME students, but plenty of time will be allotted for Q&A.
Dr. Chorost is a writer and public speaker. His first book, Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human (Houghton Mifflin, 2005) is a memoir of going deaf and getting a cochlear implant. It won the PEN/USA Award for Creative Nonfiction in 2006 and was applauded by the L.A. Times as the first cyborg memoir. His second book, World Wide Mind (Free Press, 2011) is about the science of mind-reading and the prospect of enabling direct communication from one brain to another. He has written for Wired, Technology Review, New Scientist, Slate, the Chronicle for Higher Education, and many others. He has a B.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. in digital humanities from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating in 2000, he worked at a dot-com in San Francisco and then at SRI International, a research institute in Silicon Valley. He now lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and their two cats.