Brain talks explore human brain-device interfaces and how birds learn to sing

Brains, brains, brains!

Two upcoming Portland-area talks will be all about the gray matter — connecting human ones to computers (and related ethics) and how those of birds work to help them sing.

Brain-computer interface science has the potential to help people but also raise ethical questions. Freeimages.com

The first of the two talks will look at brain-computer interface research and how BCI devices can help people to control computers, wheelchairs and brain stimulators, as well as record brain activity. The devices also raise ethical concerns, ranging from what brain data should be considered private to what stigmas might arise regarding people who use them.

The BCI talk will begin at 5:45 p.m. May 8 at Lucky Labrador Pub, 915 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland. Speaker will be Dr. Eran Klein from Oregon Health and Science University’s neurology department.

For more information, see the event page on OHSU’s Brain Institute website.

An Anna’s hummingbird visits a feeder for a sweet sip in Oregon. Susannah L. Bodman | Science in Portland

The second talk will delve into new research about birds that sing, their songs and how they learn to sing. Claudio Mello, a neuroscientist and OHSU associate professor, will cover the three bird groups that sing: songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds. He’ll also discuss how song learning in birds is similar to the way in which humans acquire speech.

Mello’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. May 9 in Chapman Elementary School, 1445 N.W. 26th Ave., Portland.

For more information about the bird talk, go to the event page on the Aububon Society of Portland’s website.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

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