Bionic Being: The New Prosthetics

The Public Science Lectures, June 21, 2011 Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Shawn Kelly, Ph.D., Senior Systems Scientist, Institute for Complex Engineered Systems, Carnegie Mellon University

Prosthetic replacements for missing or dysfunctional body parts have been in use since at least 4000 BC, when Egyptians created prosthetic legs made of fiber. As early as 700 BC, Etruscans used human or animal teeth to make dentures. Twentieth- and twenty-first-century technological developments have enabled the development of electronic prostheses capable of functionally replacing a broader range of body parts. Cardiac pacemakers and artificial hearts are familiar, but in this lecture, Dr. Shawn Kelly explores new developments in prostheses for hearing, vision, balance and other functions.

At the time of this presentation Dr. Kelly was a Research Biomedical Engineer at the VA Center for Innovative Visual Rehabilitation and a Visiting Scientist at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics. In 2012, he became a Senior Systems Scientist at the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems at Carnegie-Mellon University.

See Dr. Kelly’s Oct 2010 lecture The Electric Eye on the retinal implant he and his team at the Boston Retinal Implant Project designed. That presentation includes footage of patients demonstrating sight recovery after the retinal implant.