Rad Scientist Podcast: Bird Brains Help Researcher Build Neuroprosthetics
Daril Brown grew up tinkering with electronics and is now pursuing his doctoral degree in electrical engineering at UC San Diego. His field of study, neuroprosthetics, was inspired by his grandfather, who was a paraplegic. In particular, he is studying vocal neuroprosthetics, or using brain signals to recreate speech. He tests his methods using zebra finches, who learn their songs through childhood.
Funny enough, Brown loves making different voices. His “plan B” is to be a voice actor. While he can make many voices, he describes adjusting his speech patterns and behavior to avoid being perceived as a threat in white academic spaces, an irony that does not escape him. While Brown wasn’t able to make it to recent protests in response to police brutality due to an ankle injury, he says his acts of resistance are thriving in his field of study and publishing good science.
Listen to Brown's story in a new episode of KPBS Explore podcast "Rad Scientist."