Filed Under:

Envisioning The Future With Inventor Cori Lathan

Play associated audio

Computers were created to be useful tools, but all too often it's still a chore to get technology to do our bidding.

Corinna Lathan imagines a future that's no longer a chore, where computers understand our wants and needs so well that we don't even have to think about telling them what to do. She's an inventor who has started her own company, AnthroTronix, to make that kind of intuitive technology part of our lives. But as NPR's Joe Palca tells us in his Morning Edition story, "this kind of intimate connection with computers is still a ways off. For now Lathan's company is taking smaller steps, using available technology to explore ways for humans and computers to get along and work together."

For example, working as an engineer with astronauts at NASA, Lathan realized that the physical challenges of living in space in some ways mirror the challenges of living with a disability on Earth. Building on that insight, she invented a playful robot that could help make it easier for children with cerebral palsy to get through physical therapy. She and her team also came up with a glove-based interface so that soldiers could move their hands and communicate wordlessly while on night patrol. And after that came a gamelike test to help figure out in the field whether a soldier has suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Lathan dreams of going further, inventing machines that will help us communicate not just our actions and thoughts but also our feelings. She gives a glimpse of her vision in the video below.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'We're Mostly Republicans': New Hampshire Voters Explained By 'Our Town'

After NPR's Bob Mondello used The Music Man to help explain the Iowa caucuses, he wished there was a musical of Our Town so he could do the same for New Hampshire. It turns out there is one.
NPR

Gulf Of Mexico Open For Fish-Farming Business

For the first time, companies can apply to set up fish farms in U.S. federal waters. The government says the move will help reduce American dependence on foreign seafood and improve security.
WAMU 88.5

What's Behind Trends In U.S. Violent Crime Rates

FBI data suggest there was a slight uptick in violent crime in the first half of last year, but overall violent crime rates in the U.S. have dropped dramatically over the last twenty years. What led to the long-term decline, and why do some say it’s likely to continue?

WAMU 88.5

Blocked: Twitter's Role In Combating Violent Extremism

Over the course of seven months, Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.