Rabbit holes deep, fascinating things sift your way.
I started with Robobees, then MIT’s 35 Under 35, then Dr. Polina Anikeeva, then to Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), and Prof. Dr. Frank Koppens, Nano-Optoelectronics. What am I to do with these wonderful things?
I’ve written before about immense pressure to achieve, intense self doubt that you can even achieve (can you even?). I struggle, too, with wanting my interests and natural skill sets to resonate, but what do I have to offer? Really, reading the MO for Dr. Anikeeva’s Bioelectrics Group at MIT, “We design, synthesize and fabricate optoelectronic and magnetic devices that manipulate and record neuronal activity and development,”* what can I do here, but sit and admire? As an ex athlete, yoga teacher, medium format photographer and large scale landscape painter, actor/performer/comedy improviser, Tough Mudder finisher, with a surround, kinesthetic learning style, passivity is not my jam. Today, as conceptual Thanksgiving collides with reality, the fact that my interests are so far from my capability, is a realization crushed by shear volume of interesting information available every second, not the possibility or notion of action upon this information, engaging in creative chemistry or mechanical industry with the information itself, is especially defeating. [Take a look now to my “Reads & References” section below, if you please, I have loads of links below, so many fascinating links, what ifs and to do’s for you to see.]
“I have just discovered the blur tool and technology is scary and fire is witchcraft.”
Harvard’s a tricky one to navigate, no matter why, how you find yourself there. It’s wonderful and deeply unpleasant, fascinating and disappointing, and the whole rainbow, from inspiring to stultifying. Knowing how to approach your professors, teaching faculty, peers, possible friends, work quite differently than my experiences living in Chicago. It’s the Boston burr and New England blue steel which I will never acclimatize; they deflect all my kindness, silly sense of humor, and light. More disheartened than ever, I realize I’m again the misfit spare moon, revolving the wrong city.
Connecting with your professors is good practice, especially on LinkedIn. Having that person’s significant other proceed to investigate your life (to define/misconstrue my intentions) via LinkedIn, is not my way in professionalism and positive connection. Perhaps this person meant well, or I too quickly judged the situation, but the chain of events provoked my albatross, where hypersensitivity and acute perception edge. Mindfulness is a skill, which I’m working hard to master! Accuse me of being too self protective, however it’s sometimes necessary, especially if you tend to be hypersensitive/empathetic, INFJ on the Myers-Briggs, ergo, super perceptive about people. Disconnecting from this duo via LinkedIn will hopefully never surface their awareness, though if it were, I’d worry that my actions hurt them in some way. It’s my I and Thou. That’s just how it works for me: you get what you get, and you make the most of it.
Eleanor has your back, meanwhile: “One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.”*
“To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive – to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before.” *
Although, this is lovely…
Please know, and I’ll risk seeming disingenuous, my day job is lovely; I’m exceptionally lucky and grateful for the position, ability to work, a positive environment with kind my coworkers, and my awesome boss. I do struggle, though, to tailor my creative disposition and collaborative style with my work, as incompatibility, academic or professional, has been a big theme since moving east, in 2012. Health & happiness cantilever, balanced by concepts of wealth. Yet, I am too often faced with brusque, unyielding, and confounding attitudes, I’m reminded, again, to remind myself of a new mantra, that’s that shit I don’t like; eff that noise that does not matter.
Reads & References-so many, but here they are:
- Conor Walsh*, Wyss Institute, Harvard Biodesign Lab
- DARPA Warrior Web Project
- Aldebaran Robotics, Community
- Robert D. Hof, Affordable robots for the warehouse and beyond.
- Melonee Wise
- Will Knight, Inside Amazon
- Signe Brewster, This Woman Makes Robots and No one Is Going to Stop Her
- Medical Device Innovation Initiative
- Amanda Schaffer, Hardware that buzzes the brain at the right moments could help treat debilitating mental disorders.
- Dr. Rikky Muller, Cortera Neurotechnologies, Inc.
- Courtney Humphries, A creative scientist sees new ways to record and stimulate brain activity.
- Dr. Polina Anikeeva, Bioelectronics Group, Rethinking the Brain Machine Interface
- Antonio Regalado, A Swiss Army Knife for Neuroscience
- Daniel Smith, Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety (Mind Monkey)
- Can We Expand Our Consciousness with Neuroprosthetics?: Malcolm MacIver at TEDxCaltech
- Neural prosthetics: Krishna Shenoy at TEDxStanford
- David Talbot, Making invisible solar cells for electronic devices requires some exceptional creativity.
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Treating Brain Disorders with Implants
Gifs courtesy of #whatshouldwecallme