German engineer to discuss ‘brain-machine interface’ in public lecture at URI, Oct. 28

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Event is part of Distinguished International Visiting Scholars program


KINGSTON, R.I. – October 6, 2015 – Ulrich Hofmann, a professor of neuroelectronic systems at the University Medical Center in Freiburg, Germany, will present a lecture entitled “Brain-Machine Interfacing – Hype or Reality?” at the University of Rhode Island on Wednesday, Oct. 28.


The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences on the Kingston campus. It is free and open to the public.


A leader in the field of neural engineering, Hofmann blends such disciplines as neuronal microelectrode fabrication, deep brain stimulations and recordings, biomedical electronics and instrumentation, medical signal processing, and biological animal models in his research. His interest in unlocking the mysteries of brain disorders has led him to create new devices for probing and recording brain signals.


Yet he is skeptical about the prospect of new devices that may soon merge the function of the brain with that of machines, some of which have received wide publicity and attention in the media and entertainment industry.


“Is fusing brain and machine a desirable goal? And if so, are we there yet?” Hofmann asked. “My talk from the inside of research will cast reasonable doubt that the goals set forth by the entertainment industry will be achieved soon and not in the way expected.”


Hofmann earned a doctorate in physics at The Technical University of Munich, Germany, and conducted post-doctoral research at California Institute of Technology and Åbo Akademi in Finland. Prior to his current position, he led the biosignal processing and neuroengineering research group at the University of Luebeck.


Hofmann’s visit is part of URI’s Distinguished Visiting International Scholars Program, which provides funding to bring scholars from outside the United States to meet with URI students, faculty and administrators and present a public lecture.


“The interactions with Professor Hofmann, who is a world leader in the field of neural engineering, will foster URI’s strength in this domain and help us understand brain technologies in a broad sense,” said Kunal Mankodiya, URI assistant professor of biomedical engineering, who is serving as Hofmann’s host during his visit.


For more information about the public lecture, contact Mankodiya at kunalm@ele.uri.edu or 401-874-5661.