Photo: Eric Chudler (right) and BrainWorks cast
Eric Chudler, research associate professor of bioengineering and executive director of the Center for Neurotechnology at UW, co-produces and hosts UWTV’s BrainWorks. The program, which received a which received a Northwest Regional Emmy® Award last June, takes viewers on a journey inside the human brain, and aims to educate children about the wonders of neuroscience. In each episode, Dr. Chudler and a group of kids explore neuroscience-related topics such as the neurological benefit of exercise and sports-related concussions through hands-on experiments, field trips and interviews with brain experts.
The latest BrainWorks episode focuses on the promises and challenges of brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. Dr. Chudler’s co-stars learn how advances in neuroscience and engineering have created opportunities to treat stroke, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. They discover how UW researchers are working to restore lost neurological function, such as movement and sensation, caused by these disorders.
Through fun, informative experiments and interviews with experts at UW investigating BCI applications, including BioE Ph.D. candidate Jeneva Cronin, the show demonstrates applications of BCI. Viewers learn how brain activity can be recorded and measured, how electrical activity from the body can be used to control machines, about work underway on therapeutic applications of BCI, such as spinal cord stimulation to help people who are paralyzed regain sensorimotor function. The show also discusses some of the ethical implications of BCI.