Brainy Day Fun
Spell or move an object just by thinking? Control your dreams? Meet your amazing brain.
Nearly 700 kids and adults interacted with students and faculty at the URI Brain Fair this month, packing an auditorium for a 3-D tour of the brain, lining up for a virtual reality tour of the central nervous system, tasting brain healthy foods or learning how dreaming helps us make sense of our lives.
Sponsored by the Ryan Institute, the event brings together experts from colleges and disciplines across the University and the state to find engaging ways to teach people of all ages about keeping their brains healthy and to showcase how URI is on the forefront of brain science.
Among this year’s highlights were a “Brain-Computer Interface Zone,” featuring interactive games and technology demonstrated by researchers from electrical, computer and biomedical engineering––such as students who worked alongside Professor Walter Besio to show how a person can “move” an object just by thinking about it. Wearing caps fitted with tri-polar electrodes (Besio’s invention), participants used their thoughts to move a ball displayed on a computer monitor.
Other activities included brain health “Jeopardy,” a prism-glasses vision challenge, an optical illusion station, and a giant neuron fired by audience participation. In addition to 27 interactive educational stations, special talks and workshops were scheduled throughout the day.
Live entertainment included an hourlong Brain Circus with URI alum “Marvelous Marvin” Novogrodski and “brain-busting beats” by local musicians.
Photography by Michael Salerno