Imagine the first organisms that ever existed. Single-celled, incredibly simple, skirting about in whatever primordial ooze they found themselves in. Those little cells had to move around, find food, and reproduce, and this was all in an era before the evolution of complex biological organs like eyes and ears. How do you operate in a world without sight, without sound? How do you survive?
You touch things.
That’s right, touch. The most fundamental, yet often overlooked ability of all creatures evokes some of the most interesting questions that we can ask. How can we distinguish “ourselves” from “other things” without touch? What are the basic components of touch, and how could we use them to allow robots to navigate the tactile world? How can touch influence the emotions and thoughts of others?
Well, we at the Berkeley Science Review are tired of leaving such questions unexplored, which is why I am proud to announce Touch Me, a BSR-hosted event on the complex and fascinating world of touch sensation.
Come to the David Brower Center (map) on Sunday, October 27th for a night including touch-insensitive mutant worms, tingling spice infused cocktails, and a touch booth that demonstrates the critical role touch plays in our social and emotional lives. We’re even bringing an impressive (and slightly terrifying) touch-sensitive robot for you to enjoy, really.
We’ve also partnered with BAASICS – the Bay Area Art and Science Interdisciplinary Collaborative Sessions – to bring you artistic and creative depictions of nature’s most complex neural mechanisms. And yes, there will be interpretive dance. Oh, will there ever be interpretive dance.
In anticipation for the event, the BSR blog has posted a few short pieces that explore how touch impacts our lives and plays a crucial role in nature. Learn about the sensational ability of the star-nosed mole, and the futuristic world of electronic skin. Then grab some tickets for our live event! You can also check out our sweet audio plug right here:
So how does a brain touch the world? How do robots touch the world? How does a star-nosed mole touch the world? Well, you’ll just have to come to Touch Me, and see for yourself.