Queen's University

Neurotech Speakers

Susan Boehnke

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Centre for Neuroscience Studies

Bio: Dr. Boehnke (PhD, Dalhousie, 2003) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen’s University, Canada, where she has employed behavioural, electrophysiological, neuroimaging, and molecular techniques to examine how the primate brain processes sensory information, directs the eyes to move, and becomes disordered with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. She has taught courses in Sensory Physiology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Experimental Methods and Statistics, and the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. For the past 8 years she has taught upper-level students about developments in the use of neuroscience technologies in the spheres of Marketing and Law. A passionate advocate for the ethical application of NeuroTech, she currently leads development of Neuroscience Executive Education programs at Queen’s and is faculty advisor to the local chapter of NeurotechX (Merlin Neurotech). To support individuals with neurological disorders, she serves on the board of Autism Ontario, and previously on the board of Community Living.

Lead Organizer, A Neurotech Future: Ethical, Legal, and Policy Issues.

Shideh Ameri

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

Bio: Professor Ameri is an emerging scholar in the neurotechnology sphere. As an electrical engineer, she runs a research program developing graphene tattoo interfaces for measurement of biological and brain signals. This poses a new direction though which brain measurement devices could become less obtrusive and blend better into our lives.

Talk Title: Graphene based skin-conformal sensor for electroencephalography (EEG)

Talk Abstract: Sensor-Skin interface plays important role in eliminating motion artifact while recording electrical signal from a dynamic tissue such as skin, muscles, heart, etc. Conformal contact to the tissue also results in reducing the interface impedance and consequently improving signal to noise ratio (SNR). Graphene is atomically thin layer of carbon atoms with sub-nanometer thickness, high electrical conductivity, high surface charge density and good bio-compatibility, therefore it is an excellent candidate for the next generation of tissue integrated sensors. In this talk, we present ultra-thin and dry graphene based sensor that can be laminated on skin, microscopically conformed to it and be used for the electroencephalography (EEG) recording. The quality of EEG recording using ultrathin dry graphene sensor is comparable with gold standard wet gel electrodes.

Martha Bailey

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Faculty of Law

Bio: Professor Martha Bailey, LLB (Tor), LLM (Queen’s), MSc (Queen’s) DPhil (Oxford), is a member of the Faculty of Law of Queen’s University. She teaches Law and Neuroscience, Private International Law, International Family Law, and Property Law. Her research focuses on cross-border family law issues, including international child abduction, international surrogacy, recognition of foreign marriages, and cross-border child welfare.

Jennifer Chandler

Titles / Affiliation: University of Ottawa, Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics

Bio: Professor Chandler holds the Bertram Loeb Research Chair at the University of Ottawa, leading several research teams at the intersection of biomedical ethics and Law. She is also a co-lead of the Research Core on Ethics, Law and Society for the Canadian National Transplant Research Program. Professor Chandler is internationally recognized for her research and writing in the law and ethics of the brain sciences. She is an elected member of the Board of Directors of the International Neuroethics Society and has done pioneering work investigating the use of neuroscientific arguments in the courtroom and outlining the legal ramifications of emerging neurotechnologies.

Talk Title: Legal challenges of neurotechnology-enabled communication and decision making.

Talk Abstract: Neurotechnology offers promising avenues to assist with communication disabilities. In this presentation, I focus on three types of legal challenges associated with using neurotechnology-mediated channels of communication. First, could these technologies enable people with communication disabilities to testify in legal proceedings? Could they support communication that underlies important civil and political rights like voting or entering contractual arrangements, and could they support autonomy by allowing for consent to bodily interventions? Finally, how would legal concepts and rules relating to harmful communications and privacy apply to these forms of communication technologies?

Samuel Dahan 

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Faculty of Law

Bio: Samuel Dahan is an Assistant Professor, Queen's National Scholar and cross-appointed to the Smith Business School and Cornell University Law School. He is the Director of the Conflict Analytics Lab, a global consortium concerned with the application of data analytics and artificial intelligence to dispute resolution. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and a member of the Legal Incubateur of the Brussels Bar. Prior to joining Queen's, Samuel Dahan worked as a référendaire (legal secretary) at the Court of Justice of the European Union and as a legal adviser for French Conseil d'Etat (French Administrative Supreme Court.) He was the rapporteur (case handler) for several high-profile antitrust, trademark and employment cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Talk Title: Using AI for Conflict Resolution and Negotiation

Talk Abstract: Designing a more accessible and consistent small-claims tribunal system through the application of deep learning, and developing a deep learning model capable of understanding basic legal concepts; a visualisation system for the assessment of trademark confusion; and a worker classification and employment notice calculation system.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith

Titles / Affiliation: Parliament of Canada, Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

Bio: Nathaniel (Nate) Erskine-Smith is the Member of Parliament for Beaches-East York. He sits on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. He also sits on the Executive Committee of the Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) as past president. In his role as President, he has represented Canada at parliamentary conferences around the world. Nate became the M.P. on October 19, 2015, after a successful grassroots open nomination in December 2014. Nate lives in the Beaches-East York riding with his wife Amy, a chef and nutrition professor at George Brown College, and the director of the supper club program at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto. They have two sons, Mackinlay, born in 2016, and Crawford, born in 2019. Before politics, Nate was a lawyer at a commercial litigation firm downtown Toronto. He supplemented his practice with volunteer legal work for a range of clients and causes, which included fighting public interest matters in court, and research for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

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Ali Etemad

Titles / Affiliation: Queen’s University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Bio: Dr. Etemad is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Queen’s University, Canada, where he leads the Ambient Intelligence and Interactive Machines (Aiim) lab. He is also a faculty member at Ingenuity Labs Research Institute. He received his M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, in 2009 and 2014, respectively. His main area of research is machine learning and deep learning focused on human-centered applications with wearables, smart devices, and smart environments. Prior to joining Queen’s, he held several industrial positions as lead scientist and director. He has co-authored a large number of articles in venues such as T-HMS, T-AFFC, IEEE Sens. J., Neurocomputing, ACM CHI, ICASSP, ACII, SCA, BHI, Interspeech, and others, and is a co-inventor of several patents. He has been a member of program committees for several conferences in his field (e.g. SAP, BSN, AIVR, etc.). Dr. Etemad's lab and research program have been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, Ontario Centers of Excellence (OCE), Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Mitacs, and other organizations, as well as the private sector.

Talk Title: Toward User-centered BCI

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Ariel Garten

Titles / Affiliation: InteraXon, CEO

Bio: Ariel Garten co-founded InteraXon, which produces the Muse brain sensing device, as an expression of her background in neuroscience, psychotherapy and art, along with her dedication to bring easy-to-use and accessible tools for well-being to the masses. Ariel is also the co-host of the "Untangle" podcast, where she interviews ground-breaking neuroscientists, psychologists and mediators to teach listeners about the brain, how it works, and how to use it to its full potential. Ariel has been a leader in the neurotechnology wearables sphere and is a strong voice for the ethical application of neurotechnology.

Talk Title: Neurotechnology Industry Code of Ethics

Talk Abstract: Garten will outline efforts to develop of code of ethics in the neurotechnology industry

Judy Illes

Titles / Affiliation: The University of British Columbia, Medicine

Bio: Judy Illes is the Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics and Professor of Neurology. She is the founding member of Neuroethics Canada, and is globally respected on issues related to neuroscience and society. As co-chair of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS), Prof. Illes has advocated for neuroethics to be an anchor of the brain research strategy.

Talk Title: Neuroethics as an Anchor for the Canadian Brain Research Strategy

Talk Abstract: While leaders in brain research around the world have been building toward an international brain research strategy, Canada has been working on a complementary approach that accelerates international efforts but leverages the unique advantages of Canadian researchers and Canada as a neuroscience-driven nation. A new Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS) offers four strategic pillars of which neuroethics, as part of the application of neuroscience to society, is one. It is also critical to the applicability and implementation of CBRS vision overall.The CBRS aims to be an integrated national research effort that builds on Canada's strengths and current investments in cutting-edge collaborative neuroscience to drive transformative outcomes in neurological and mental health for Canadians.

Ron Levy

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Centre for Neuroscience Studies

Bio: Dr. Levy is a clinician scientist at Queen's University and a functional neurosurgeon at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, where he has built a human functional neurosurgery program for deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's Disease. His research involves determination of the mechanisms of deep brain stimulation using non-human primate models. He is an expert on the development of novel neurosurgical approaches to the recording and stimulation of neural circuits. As such, he has ground level expertise on what is, and is NOT, possible in terms of current invasive neurotechnologies.

Talk Title: Current neurosurgical challenges for BCIs

Talk Abstract: The limitations for approved brain implants to treat neurological disease are their invasiveness, efficacy, and cost. These implants typically stimulate neural tissue to alter brain activity. There are sensing capabilities but these are dependent on our rudimentary knowledge of pathological brain function. We don't yet understand how to interpret normal brain activity well enough to use it for 'mind reading.' I will outline a variety of neurosurgical hurdles that must be solved prior to widespread commercial use of brain implant technologies. The fact that neurosurgeons must do the implantation limits the ethical issues compared with technologies not dependent on surgical implantation.

David Lyon

Titles / Affiliation: Queen’s University, Surveillance Studies Centre

Bio:  David Lyon is Director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. Educated at the University of Bradford UK, Lyon has been studying surveillance since the mid-1980s. A pioneer in the field of Surveillance Studies, he has produced a steady stream of books—translated in to 18 languages—and articles starting with The Electronic Eye (1994). The latest is The Culture of Surveillance (2018) and he is completing Surveillance: A Very Short Introduction. He has led several large collaborative research projects on surveillance, with research funding totalling almost $8 million. His work has been recognized in Canada, Switzerland, the USA and the UK with a number of fellowships, prizes—including the Molson Prize in 2020—awards and an honorary doctorate.

Brenda McPhail

Titles / Affiliation: Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Privacy, Technology and Surveillance

Bio: As CCLA's Privacy, Surveillance, and Technology Project Director, and a member of the National Security team, my work focuses on protecting privacy rights, and creating public awareness about the ways privacy is at risk in contemporary society. This includes privacy in relation to national security including signals intelligence and intelligence surveillance, privacy and information sharing practices and policies, and privacy in the social context of existing and emerging technologies. I work with amazing lawyers to litigate or intervene in legal cases related to privacy rights, and do my part for CCLA’s public education mandate through participation in high school classes, public panels and conferences, and media interviews. My professional interests are reflected and sometimes discussed in my twitter feed @BJMcP.

Talk Title: Privacy in the Age of Neurotech

Talk Abstract: In the age of big data, algorithmic analysis, and "smart" everything, from watches and phones to cars and cities, understanding and protecting privacy is inescapably intertwined with understanding the ways new technologies are designed, and the ways they work. This talk will outline CCLA's work on privacy and emerging technology and important court interventions, and privacy concerns related to neurotechnology.

Graeme Moffat

Titles / Affiliation: Walnut Labs Inc., Founder

Bio: Graeme Moffat has a PhD in Neuroscience from Aix-Marseille University/CNRS. He is an entrepreneur in the neurotechnology industry, most recently as Chief Scientists and VP of Regulatory Affairs at Interaxon Inc., which produces the MUSE brainwave sensing headset for meditation. He has also founded Walnut Labs Inc., which is producing one of the first portable fNIRS (functional near infrared spectroscopy) devices for measuring brain activity in cortex via cerebral blood flow changes. Graeme has expertise in regulatory issues in the neurotechnology industry and is committed to ethical application of these technologies.

Talk Title: Non-invasive methods of brain activity monitoring.

Talk Abstract: As we move from early adoption in consumer neurotechnology toward the mainstream, it’s clear that the consumer neurotechnologies of today are best understood through the Neuroadaptive Technology framework. This presentation will survey the landscape of neuroadaptive technologies with a particular focus on portable and wearable functional imaging, including fNIRS, autonomic sensors, EMG and EEG. I will discuss challenges to adoption, including user experience, applications, open vs. closed platforms and their respective impacts on research and utilisation, as well as opportunities for next generation and even more widely used consumer- and health-oriented neuroadaptive technologies. I will also discuss the unique possibilities of neurotechnology data and experimentation at the scale of thousands and, soon, millions of users.

David Murakami Wood

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, The Surveillance Studies Centre

Bio: One of the leading academics in the field of surveillance studies, specializing in smart city applications and has enthusiasm for the research and strong sense of the big picture in Canada and internationally.

Talk Title: Societal Impacts of Emerging Neurotechnologies

Talk Abstract: Technology is not an unstoppable linear force that cannot be controlled by human politics, they are embedded in the social context in which they are created and used -- technologies are profoundly social. There is a belief that technology will solve all social problems. However, empirical evidence suggests that the reality is not so simple. Prejudices and priorities get embedded within programs, and politics enters the code, where it becomes impossible to see. This raises many important questions for neurotechnologies in Canadian society.

Teresa Scassa

Titles / Affiliation: Canada Research Chair in Information Law & Policy, University of Ottawa

Bio: Dr. Teresa Scassa is the Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. She is a member of the Canadian Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence. She is the author of Canadian Trademark Law, and co-author of Digital Commerce in Canada, and Canadian Intellectual Property Law. She is a co-editor of the books AI and the Law in Canada and Law and the Sharing Economy. Her research interests include: privacy law, data governance, intellectual property law, law and technology, law and artificial intelligence, and smart cities.

Talk Title: Canadian Legislation for private sector data protection - Does it apply to brain data?

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Stephen H Scott

Titles / Affiliation: Queen's University, Centre for Neuroscience Studies

Bio: Professor Stephen Scott, PhD is the GSK Chair in Neuroscience and is a world expert on the neural basis of voluntary motor function. He is co-founder and CSO of Kinarm which commercializes robotic technology developed in his lab that is presently used around the world for basic and clinical research on sensorimotor function. He has in-depth knowledge on using technology to study brain function and dysfunction. He has in-depth understanding of the history of brain-machine interfaces for motor control and will speak on the history of this field to ground the audience.

Talk Title: Brain and machines: Interfacing and interacting

Talk Abstract: Many technologies have been developed that interface with the nervous system to overcome sensory and motor impairments. For example, cochlear implants were developed many decades ago and are now commonly used to allow individuals who are deaf to hear again. Presently, there is considerable interest to develop approaches that can overcome motor impairments using microelectrodes that directly record neural activity in the brain to control computers, robots or even re-animate paralyzed limbs. I will review the history of these technologies, their potential to overcome sensory and motor impairments, as well as some of the challenges in translating these devices to the clinic. 

Catherine Stinson

Titles / Affiliation: Queen’s University, School of Computing & Department of Philosophy.

Bio: Catherine Stinson is Queen’s National Scholar in Philosophical Implications of Artificial Intelligence, Assistant Professor in the School of Computing and Philosophy Department, and Affiliate of the University of Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. Dr. Stinson holds a PhD in History & Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Toronto.

Talk Title: The artifice of AI mind reading

Talk Abstract: Dr. Stinson specializes in methodology and ethics of artificial intelligence. They have published on psychiatric classification, explanation in Artificial Neural Networks, health data privacy, and (against) eugenic tech. Current research topics include adversarial examples in deep learning, algorithmic bias, the meanings of ‘intelligence’, and the moral responsibilities of computer scientists.

John Weigelt

Titles / Affiliation: Microsoft Canada, Chief Technology Officer

Bio: As the National Technology Officer for Microsoft Canada, John Weigelt is responsible for driving Microsoft Canada's strategic technology efforts. In this role, John helps business and governments innovate with technology while avoiding the unintended consequences that might arise. He leads Canadian outreach for technology policy issues across a wide range of subjects including: Economic Development, Digital Economy, Open Government, Environmental Sustainability, Accessibility, Privacy, Security, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Government 3.0, Spectrum and Intellectual Property.

Weigelt participated in the hearings held by the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy. He is a member of CIOSC (Chief Information Officers Strategy Council) as well as Health Canada's Scientific Advisory Committee on Digital Health Technologies. John is a major thought leader on ethical regulation of new technologies such as AI and digital health tech, and will lead our discussion on imagining the future regulatory landscape for neurotechnology.

Talk Title: How Microsoft led on regulatory policy for AI and how that might be applied to Neurotechnology.

Talk Abstract: Technology megatrends are transforming far more than the technological playing field, they are transforming business and broader society. The successful organizations will be the one holding the paint brush; Those that are rewriting the rules of the playing field through business innovation catalyzed by the power of social, cloud computing, big data and ubiquitous computing. The full potential of these game changing trends can only be realized if people have trust and confidence in the underlying tools and services that support them. John Weigelt will explores the how today's technology trends, including emerging neurotechnologies, are changing almost all aspects of our lives and the opportunities in security and privacy that arise as a result.