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Is Life a Game?

Eric Zimmerman + John Krakauer

Saturday, February 21, 2015
3:00 PM–4:30 PM

An interactive conversation with the audience on the cognitive, aesthetic, and cultural aspects of games as a tool for better understanding how we interact with our senses, and the world we live in.

About the Speakers

Eric Zimmerman is a game designer and academic who has been working in the game industry for more than 20 years. One of the New York Observer’s “Power Punks,” one of Interview Magazine’s “30 To Watch,” one of International Design Magazine’s “ID 40” influential designers and one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Digital 50”, Zimmerman has created games on and off the computer that range from massively multiplayer online games to installations at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He is also an Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center.

John Krakauer is currently a Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience and Director of the Brain, Learning, Animation, and Movement Lab (<>) at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His areas of research interest are: (1) Experimental and computational studies of motor control and motor learning in humans (2) Tracking long-term motor skill learning and its relation to higher cognitive processes such as decision making. (3) Prediction of motor recovery after stroke (4) Mechanisms of spontaneous motor recovery after stroke in humans and in mouse models (5) New neuro-rehabilitation approaches for patients in the first 3 months after stroke. He has also co-founded two video gaming groups called Max and Haley and KATA, which are based on the idea that animal movement based on real physics is highly pleasurable and that this pleasure is hugely heightened when the animal movement is under the control of our own movements. This synchronized mapping between a virtual animal’s complex movements and our own simpler movements is a cognitive interface of huge potential as it harnesses mechanisms of embodiment, playful motor exploration, and captures the hierarchical organization of the motor system itself. We would also argue that it is an experimental prototype of what lies at the heart of playing and observing sports and dance. A simulated dolphin and other cetaceans have now been made available by Max and Haley in a game called “I am Dolphin” available on the App Store. The technology is also being developed by KATA to prepare therapeutic games that will be interfaced with an FDA-approved 3D exoskeletal robot in BLAM-lab in preparation for an upcoming trial.

Tickets: $20.00
Member price: $18.00