CSNE members participate with the NSF in Awesome Con / Future Con

On June 16, 2017, through support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) members Katherine Pratt and Tim Brown, participated in "Future Con," a three-day event that brought cutting-edge science to a wide audience as part of Awesome Con, a popular science fiction convention in Washington D.C. with over 60,000 attendees.

Pratt, a CSNE member and Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington (UW), and Brown, a CSNE member, neuroethicist and Ph.D. student in Philosophy at the UW, were part of a Future Con panel titled, "The Human-Technology Frontier: To Enhancement and Beyond?" Among several topics, they discussed with the panel and audience the possibility that neurotechnology could change how we think about humanity itself and alter our current understanding of what we consider to be disabilities and human neural enhancement.

"The panel had some great questions and allowed both Tim and I to talk about multidisciplinary work and neuroethics research through the Center [the CSNE]," Pratt said.

Pratt also participated in a StarTalk Live! Broadcast, "Engineering the Future: What Humanity Can, Should, and Will need to Do." Pratt was one of two NSF scientists on the show, speaking about the future of science and technology as it relates to the future of space travel.

Both Pratt and Brown were available during the event to answer questions from the public at the NSF's "Ask A Scientist" exhibitor booth.

"I spoke with two women with fibromyalgia who were interested in the neuroscience of sensation, a program coordinator at MENSA who wanted to think more about what it means to be 'normal functioning,' and an undergraduate interested in the CSNE's [Research Experience for Undergraduates] REU program," Brown said. "It was an awesome experience."

Visit the NSF website to learn more about the NSF's participation in this year's Awesome Con / Future Con. The event was also covered by media outlets such as Smithsonian Magazine and Live Science.

Photo credit: Katherine Pratt


Date of Publication: 

Thursday, June 22, 2017