• Grand Rapids Civic Theatre (map)
  • 30 Division Ave N
  • Grand Rapids, MI, 49503
  • United States

West Michigan Design Week Keynote Speaker

Society is at the threshold of a new age when machines will no longer be separate, lifeless mechanisms, but will instead be intimate extensions of the human body. Such a merging of body and machine will not only improve the quality of life for disabled people, but will allow persons with normal physiologies to experience augmented capabilities—cognitively, emotionally and physically. Professor Hugh Herr of the MIT Media Lab describes a future world where technology will merge with our bodies to forever change our concept of human capability. Hugh features research work from MIT’s Center for Extreme Bionics that is blurring the distinction between "able bodied" and "disabled," demonstrating technologies at the neural-digital interface. These new research initiatives are capable of addressing a plethora of conditions currently at clinical impasses, from optogenetic approaches to treat blindness, to the development of smart prostheses that can emulate—and even exceed the capabilities of—biological limbs. Hugh believes that through an ever-increasing technological sophistication, human disability will largely be eliminated in this 21st century, setting the stage for innovations that will ultimately benefit all humanity.

Hugh Herr is creating bionic limbs that emulate the function of natural limbs. In 2011, Time Magazine coined Dr. Herr the ‘Leader of the Bionic Age’ because of his revolutionary work in the emerging field of Biomechatronics - technology that marries human physiology with electromechanics. A double amputee himself, he is responsible for breakthrough advances in bionic limbs that provide greater mobility and new hope to those with physical disabilities. He is currently Associate Professor of the Biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab.

Reception | 6:00p
Talk | 7:00p

Tickets are free but registration is required.

Watch Dr. Herr's 2014 Ted Talk


Special thanks to our title sponsor: 
Design West Michigan