Imperial College London

Imperial College Neurotechnology visits Whitehall Park School science week

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Isabell Whiteley demonstrating brain function to school students

Imperial College Neurotechnology visits Whitehall Park School science week

Two students from the CDT Neurotechnology visited a local primary school during science week to talk to them about the brain and neurotechnology.

On Thursday 14th of March, Rufus Mitchell-Heggs and Isabell Whiteley visited Whitehall Park primary school to present the wonders of Neurotechnology.  Covering all year groups, from five to ten-year olds, children were introduced to neuroanatomy and the Brain Machine Interface (BMI) via an interactive, question filled presentation.

introducing school kids to brain function
Introducing the concept of the left and right brain hemispheres and lateralization of brain function

Each presentation started by quizzing the inquisitive on “How we control our bodies” and “How the brain works”.  Subsequently, accompanied with a model brain and videos of neuronal circuitry, they learnt how different regions of their brain control their senses, speech and movement.

Following an introduction to the brain, children were then given the opportunity to visualise their brainwaves using a simple EEG headset.  Using a brainwave classification algorithm, children were able visualise their levels of “attention” or “meditation”.  Next, using these brainwaves, they were tasked with “blowing-up” an animated barrel, or “levitating” an animated ball.  Not only did this show how fun neuroscience can be, but it also taught the children the future potential BMI’s.

using BMI to visualise brainwaves
Using a BMI to visualise different brainwave frequencies
using BMI to levitate an animated ball
Using a BMI to levitate an animated ball

Finally, in answer to the most profound question you can ask a child: “What would you like to be when you’re older?” and using the sophisticated survey method of hand raising, it was deemed that “Neuroscientist” may yet compete with “Football player”.

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Rufus Mitchell-Heggs

Rufus Mitchell-Heggs
Department of Bioengineering