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Public Events

Cinema Bernstein

Schläfer / Sleeper (Austrian-German Film 2005, Original with English subtitles)
with Benjamin Heisenberg (Artist, Author and Filmmaker)

Time: Tuesday, September 12, 19:00

Location: German Primate Center, Kellnerweg 4, Main Lecture Hall

Benjamin Heisenberg’s 2005 film Schläfer / Sleeper - giving some of the most accurate cinematic representations of laboratory life - shows actors Bastian Trost, Mehdi Nebbou and Loretta Pflaum in a story of rivalry and treachery set in a triangle of love, science and politics. Conceived in the aftermath of 9/11 and the ensuing security legislation, it paints an intimate picture of an unsettled society undermined by a silent epidemic of suspicion. Johannes, a new assistant at the university, is asked to provide reports on Farid, an Algerian Postdoc - who is suspected of being a sleeper. He refuses, but a seed of doubt has been planted. A fragile friendship overshadowed by competition in the lab and rivalry in their relationship with Beate, a joint friend, eventually leads to betrayal. „My approach to the story was to interweave the political level in a delicate way with the characters’ private conflicts in order to make the subtle corruption of the characters perceptible." (B. Heisenberg, 2005)
Schläfer received numerous awards, among them the Midas Prize, EuroPAWS, for the best fiction drama set in science and technology, and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2005. The Cinema Bernstein screening of the film, open to the general public, will feature a discussion with artist, author and filmmaker Benjamin Heisenberg. Born 1974 in Tübingen, Heisenberg grew up near Würzburg and studied sculpting (1993-1999) and filmmaking (1997-2005) in Munich. He has directed three feature films, numerous short films and is a founding editor of the filmmagazine Revolver. Most recently he co-designed the public artwork at the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism.


Public Lecture

"Abolishment of the locked-in state with a Brain-Machine-Interface (BMI)"

Time: Wednesday 13.09.2017, 20:00h

Location: Alte Mensa, Wilhelmsplatz 3, 37073 Göttingen

Speaker: Niels Birbaumer, Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tuebingen, Germany; Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, Genèva, Switzerland

Completely locked-in patients (CLIS) cannot communicate with any motor response despite intact cognitive and emotional response systems. Four ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) patients in CLIS  learned to respond with a brain oxygenation and deoxygenation change of frontal brain areas using portable NIRS (near infrared spectroscopy) to short questions requiring a yes or no response presented auditorily within 15 seconds.CLIS duration in the four patients has lasted from 4 months to eight years and was validated with EOG measurement during all sessions.Each session contained 20 to 60 questions (half with yes and half with no answers). All experiments take place at the home of patients. Questions with known answers were used to train a support vector machine classifier (SVM). After achieving 70% correct answers open questions were asked and feedback of the classified answer was provided to the patients. EEG from 6 electrodes served to control sleep and vigilance decrement: questions were interrupted if sleep-like patterns appeared. 16 to 60 sessions over several months assured stability of communication with an average correct resonse rate of more than 70% to known and 90% correct answers to open questions.Among open questions quality of life questions were asked on a weekly basis to three of the patients with longer CLIS duration, all patients report good quality of life as previously reported by our group. Open questions answers are validated by stability over time, information of family and care takers, sentences with semantic errors and face validity (i.e. pain questions during periods of intense pain due to decubitus and other illness related problems). These results suggest that brain machine interfaces using metabolic brain signals may end the unbearable silence of CLIS.

Supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG),The Eva and Horst Köhler-Stiftung, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF, Motor-Bic), Stiftung Volkswagenwerk (VW), Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, EU Horizon 2020: LUMINOUS

The lecture is brought to you with friendly support of the Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH.