Friday February 5, Giedt Hall 1003, 10:30-11:30am

Prof. Rahul Sarpeshkar
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT


I shall describe principles and examples for using analog and bio-inspired computation for creating ultra-low-power wireless electronics for the deaf, blind, paralyzed, and in other bio-signal sensing or stimulating applications. Such techniques can yield more than order-of-magnitude power reductions while maintaining high levels of robustness to several sources of noise. I shall provide examples from systems built in my lab for bionic ear processors for the deaf, brain-machine interfaces for the blind and paralyzed, and in body sensor networks for patient monitoring.

Nature is a great circuit designer. She has innovated circuits in the biochemical, biomechanical, and bioelectronic domains that operate very robustly with highly imprecise parts and with incredibly low levels of power. I shall outline examples of how bio-inspired circuits and architectures have led to and are leading to novel architectures in sensing and computing, e.g., in ear-inspired radios, in architectures for improving operation in noise, in ultra-low-power signal-to-symbol conversion, and in hybrid analog-digital architectures that model computations within cells. Thus, we can mine the intellectual resources of nature to create devices useful to man just as we have mined her physical resources in the past. Such mining will require us to combine inspiration with perspiration and to understand how nature works with insight.


Rahul Sarpeshkar Rahul Sarpeshkar obtained Bachelor's degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics at MIT. After completing his PhD at Caltech, he joined Bell Labs as a member of technical staff. Since 1999, he has been on the faculty of MIT's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department where he heads a research group on Analog VLSI and Biological Systems, and is currently an Associate Professor. He has received several awards including the Packard Fellow award given to outstanding faculty, the ONR Young Investigator Award, the NSF Career Award, the Indus Technovator award, and the junior Bose award for excellence in teaching. He holds over twenty five patents and has authored more than 100 publications including one that was featured on the cover of NATURE. His research interests include analog microelectronics, ultra low power circuits and systems, biologically inspired circuits and systems, biomedical systems, feedback systems, neuroscience, and molecular biology.