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Clarke Lecture Asks ‘Can You See With Your Tongue?’

posted on February 13, 2008

Kurt Kaczmarek Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present this year’s Clarke College Mary Murphy, BVM Endowed Lecture in Biology entitled “Tactile Sensory Substitution: Can You See With Your Tongue?”  The lecture will be held on Monday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Jansen Music Hall on the Clarke campus. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Sensory substitution is the use of one human sense to receive information normally received by a different sense. An everyday example of this is Braille – using touch to substitute for vision. Technological sensory aids increase the scope of impairments that may be at least partially restored using sensory substitution. However, there are technical and physiological limitations to information transfer through alternative senses. This lecture will focus on the use of touch to substitute for vision and balance, two areas of research in the Tactile Communication and Neuromodulation Lab at the College of Wisconsin-Madison. Both are approaching commercial viability for certain applications.

Kaczmarek currently studies electrical stimulation of touch and tactile displays for communicating information to people. His research involves understanding the neurophysiological mechanisms involved as well as developing practical tactile display systems. Kaczmarek holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the College of Wisconsin-Madison.

The Mary Murphy, BVM Endowed Lecture in Biology was established in memory of Dr. Mary Murphy, BVM, who died on January 25, 1999, of ovarian cancer. Murphy was a highly respected member of the Clarke College faculty, chairperson of the Department of Biology (1992-1998), and former Board of Trustees member.

For more information, contact the Clarke College Marketing and Communication Office at (563)588-6318.

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