For most of us, drones and robots controlled by brain power sound like science fiction. But for Bin He, trustee professor of biomedical engineering and neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University, this phenomenon has become a reality.

He and his team are refining an approach called noninvasive brain-computer interface (BCI), which uses brain imaging and machine learning to interpret human intention in the brain and program robotic systems.

“The impact of this work is two-fold," said He, who is also a fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering. “The first is direct application to patients who are paralyzed or have any sort of motor function disorder. We also believe it could help the general population in terms of multitasking and controlling the environment around you.”

He will discuss the significance of this revolutionary work at a public lecture titled “Dynamic Brain Mapping and Brain-Computer Interface at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5. The presentation is free and open to the public at 2 Riverside Circle in Roanoke. Refreshments will be available at a 5 p.m. reception.

“Dr. He’s transformative work in neuroengineering with a focus on functional neuroimaging and neural interfaces is revolutionizing the way we view the human brain and its relationship with our physical mechanistic environment and assistive technologies,” said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and Virginia Tech’s vice president for Health Sciences and Technology.

In addition to his work in brain-computer interfaces, He is actively developing noninvasive brain imaging technology for studying motor and visual systems and aiding the detection, diagnosis, and management of various brain disorders.

His talk is the latest in the Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture Series, hosted by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC in Roanoke. The series is named for Maury Strauss, a Roanoke businessman and biomedical research enthusiast who recognized the importance of bringing top scientists to speak to the public in Roanoke.

Prior to his time at Carnegie Mellon University, He served as director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

He has received prestigious awards including the William J Morlock Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), the IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award, the Academic Career Achievement Award and Distinguished Service Award from the IEEE EMBS, the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, and the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award.

He is an elected fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE), American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and IEEE.

He earned a bachelor’s degree at Zhejiang University in China, a medical degree at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan, and completed postdoctoral training at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan.

In addition to the in-person event, people may watch He’s lecture via Zoom or live webcast on the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute’s website.

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