Engage and Enable Blog

The aim of this blog is to show what’s happening at the Center for Neurotechnology among its faculty, student and staff members. To learn more about the center and its work, visit our Feature Stories page.


The recent WeRobot conference in Seattle covered regulating robots, teleoperated robotic systems and robot economics. Tony Dyson, the man who built R2-D2 for "Star Wars" was the featured speaker on Friday evening; his presence at #WeRobot resulted in lots of Twitter posts with photos.

When Aalap Dighe, PhD student in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, recently traveled to Seattle, he was thankful to escape the never-ending Boston snowstorms. But he wasn’t here just to escape the winter weather.

Dighe, who will graduate this summer, has traveled regularly to the University of Washington (UW) over the last few years as part of his role in the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), an Engineering Research Center supported by the National Science Foundation.

A team of researchers from San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of Washington (UW) are collaborating to develop a novel wireless device to record and stimulate brain activity, one of the long-term goals of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering.

SDSU researchers have created flexible glassy carbon electrodes, now commonly used in a variety of applications, which can be implanted on the surface of the brain to record signals or stimulate specific sites.

Maria Vomero, SDSU graduate student in the NeuroMEMS Lab, said the team “heats the polymer at different temperatures and different rates of speed. We noticed that if we change the parameters, we get a new material every time.”

Jamal Thorne (right), Morehouse College '15 explains his research Nearly 20 students from Morehouse kicked off a tour across the country last week, starting off their spring break by marching in Selma, Alabama on the same day President Barack Obama joined civil rights leaders to commemorate the “Bloody Sunday” march.

Following the trip to Alabama, they visited a handful of universities across the country, including the University of Washington, a visit that was hosted by the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), one of 17 Engineering Research Centers across the country funded by the National Science Foundation. 

Babies’ brains account for 13 percent of their weight. It would take more than 3,000 years to count the 100 billion nerve cells in a human brain. The weight of your brain has nothing to do with your intelligence.

More than 600 students learned those facts and more at the 18th annual Brain Awareness Week event at the University of Washington on Tuesday, March 3. Many of them had the chance to hold a real brain for the first time or have a neuron painted on their face, also, perhaps, for the first time.