Keynotes Speakers

9th March: Pranav Mistry

The Way We May Interact

From Abacus to Android, the medium of our interaction has been constantly changing. The wonderful history of this change and its next stop excites us and will for the time to come. At this yet another crossroad, we will again break the norms with experiment that may someday become commonplace. But some of those experiments that did not become norms might be as exciting and sometime more. The goal of these quests is to make us more connected, may be to each other or to something inanimate. Or maybe it is just an aimless quest. The dream of 'what will be the Next Medium' keeps me awake, and I would love to share the story of it with you.

About the speaker
Pranav Mistry

At present Pranav is the Director of Think Tank Team and Global Vice President of Research at Samsung  Before that he was a Research Assistant and PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab. During his graduate years he has worked with Microsoft, Google, CMU, NASA, UNESCO, Japan Science & Technology to name a few. Pranav received my Master in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT and Master of Design from IIT Bombay and bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering  from Nirma Institute of Technology in Ahmedabad.

He is best known for his work on SixthSense, Samsung Galaxy Gear and Project Beyond. His research interests include Wearable Computing, Augmented reality, Ubiquitous computing, Gestural interaction, AI, Machine vision, Collective intelligence and Robotics. World Economic Forum honored Mistry as one of the Young Global Leader 2013.

10th March: Robert Riener - Cybathlon 2016

An International Championship for Augmented Parathletes

The Cybathlon is an international championship for racing pilots with disabilities (i.e., parathletes) who are using advanced robotic technologies to provide assistance for daily life activities. The competitions are comprised by different disciplines that apply the most modern powered devices such as powered prostheses, wearable exoskeletons, powered wheelchairs, functional electrical stimulation as well as novel brain-computer interfaces. The main goal of the Cybathlon is to provide a platform for the development of novel assistive technologies that are useful for daily life of persons with different motor disabilities. Furthermore, through the organization of the Cybathlon we will help removing barriers between the public, people with disabilities and science. The first Cybathlon will take place in a large indoor stadium, on 8 October 2016 and will be live-broadcasted all over the world. Thereafter, the Cybathlon will be held periodically at least every 4 years.

About the speaker
Robert RienerRobert Riener studied Mechanical Engineering at TU München, Germany, and University of Maryland, USA. He received a Dr.-Ing. degree in Engineering from the TU München in 1997. After postdoctoral work from 1998-1999 at the Centro di Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, he returned to TU München, where he completed his Habilitation in the field of Biomechatronics in 2003. In 2003 he became assistant professor at ETH Zurich and Spinal Cord Injury Center of the University Hospital Balgrist (“double-professorship”); since 2010 he has been full professor for Sensory-Motor Systems at the Mechanical Engineering Department of ETH Zurich. Riener has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles, 20 books and book chapters and filed 20 patents. He has received 18 personal distinctions and awards including the Swiss Technology Award in 2006, the IEEE TNSRE Best Paper Award 2010, and the euRobotics Technology Transfer Awards 2011 and 2012. Riener’s research focuses on the investigation of the sensory-motor actions in and interactions between humans and machines. This includes the design of novel user-cooperative robotic devices and virtual reality technologies applied to neurorehabilitation. Riener is the inventor and organizer of the Cybathlon 2016.

11th March: Amir Amedi

New frontiers in sensory substitution and sensory augmentation: technology and brain mechanisms


In the first part of the talk I will present new ways to teach the brain to see again in blindness. I'll chart several key steps in this direction such as developing novel sensory substitution devices, (SSDs), developing novel training protocols like creating novel virtual training environments, online self-train tools and serious games. Finally I will present the concept of the Multisensory Bionic Eye (MBE), a device that combines invasive recovery of visual input with dedicated built-in auditory and tactile components that are based upon the progress made using SSDs.

In the second part of the talk I will present how the brain learn to process the information arriving from SSDs by tracking down the plastic changes in humans using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Our findings show that the brain area specializations can emerge independently of sensory modality and suggest that this might be mediated by cultural recycling of cortical circuits molded by distinct specializations and connectivity patterns. 

About the speaker
Amir AmediAmir is an internationally acclaimed brain scientist with 15 years of experience in the field of brain plasticity and multisensory integration. He has a particular interest in visual rehabilitation. He is an Associate Professor at the Department of Medical Neurobiology at the Hebrew University and the ELSC brain center, PhD in Computational Neuroscience (ICNC, Hebrew University) and Postdoctoral and Instructor of Neurology (Harvard Medical School). He won several international awards and fellowships such as The Krill Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research, the Wolf Foundation (2011), The international Human Frontiers Science Program Organization Post docatoral fellowship and later a Career Development award (2004, 2009), the JSMF Scholar Award in Understanding Human Cognition (2011), and was recently selected as a European Research Council (ERC) fellow (2013).