Riki Banerjee

A Brain Implant That Turns Your Thoughts into Text

What if you could control digital devices using just the power of thought? That’s the incredible promise behind the Stentrode—an implantable brain-computer interface that collects and wirelessly transmits information directly from the brain, without the need for open surgery. Neurotech entrepreneur Riki Banerjee describes the intricacies of this breakthrough technology, which is currently enrolling participants in human trials, as well as how it could help restore dignity to those with disabilities—and transform the future of communication. Riki Banerjee’s presentation will share the story of this incredible technology and also explore the cross-disciplinary design process that brings about innovation at the forefront of technology in complex healthcare environment.

Riki Banerjee is a neurotech leader and is the vice president of research and development at Synchron. She came to Synchron with experience commercializing world-class neurotech products that treated many different conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, and urinary incontinence. She is passionate about bringing together people with deep expertise and creating team culture that drives impactful neurotech innovation and makes a difference in people’s lives. 

Maddy Bartsch

How Do Your Socks Relate to Climate Change?

Perhaps you’re wondering what socks have to do with climate change. Well, it turns out quite a lot! With the recent completion of the Three Rivers Fibershed’s (TRF) Soil to Sock Challenge, Maddy Bartsch of TRF will walk us through how the textiles we wear (yes, even your socks) intersect with a number of issues that contribute to climate change. 

Maddy Bartsch (they/she) is a farmer, educator, and organizer of decentralized textile economies based in Minneapolis. Maddy has helped a broad range of clients navigate local textile economies through projects like the Minnesota Hemp Wool Project, the Three Rivers Fibershed (TRF) Regional Fiber Sourcebook, the National Mill Inventory Survey, and as a Yarn Incubator for Fibershed. In addition to fiber systems, Maddy’s work includes tackling food systems as the Community Connector for the Cannon River chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association. More recently, Maddy received a Farmer-Rancher SARE grant which has enabled them to focus on 2 years of research around building a natural dye cooperative in the midwest. Maddy is cofounder and co-president of the Three Rivers Fibershed and teaches and speaks on the topic of local fiber systems and sustainable textiles to learners of all ages throughout the Midwest.

Brian Grandison

Brian A. Grandison has worked as an actor, a writer, a director, and artist-in-residence in the Twin Cities, around the country, and internationally.

As an actor he’s worked at the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Illusion, History Theater, Pillsbury House Theater, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Theater Latte Da, and Full Circle Theaters in the Twin Cities.  In Chicago he has performed in several plays at the Goodman Theater. In Los Angeles, he was fortunate to be a part of the reading of the play Groomed by Don Cheadle at the Mark Taper. Later on he was hired by Showtime to develop Groomed into a screenplay for that network.

Most recently, his play Redemption premiered this summer as a co-production between New Dawn Theater and Minneapolis College, and will be remounted sometime in ’23 or ’24 at the Pillsbury House Theater. His play Diesel Heart will premiere in March of ’23 at the History Theater in St. Paul.

He is currently a theater professor and director at Minneapolis College (formerly MCTC).For the past eight years, he has co-led an ongoing theater and writing workshop with a group of adults who suffer from persistent mental illness at Vail Place in South Minneapolis.

Peter Mui

The Fix Is In: Advancing Positive Change One Broken Toaster at a Time

Building resilient communities through conveying essential troubleshooting skills and celebrating repair, Fixit Clinic holds do-it-together hands-on fix-n-learn community-based exploration and discovery workshops staffed by volunteers who consult with participants on the disassembly, troubleshooting, and repair of items. Over time the objectives have expanded to deploying ubiquitous and pervasive repair as a way to address a wide assortment of challenging issues, from overconsumption and e-waste to globalization and workforce development.

Peter Mui is the founder of Fixit Clinicwhich conveys critical thinking and troubleshooting skills through both in-person community repair events around the U.S. and, now, globally via Intergalactic Zoom Fixit Clinics and Discord: Global Fixers. Nearly 800 Fixit Clinic events have been hosted at libraries, elementary, secondary and high schools, colleges, and universities, and through teleconferencing software. “Education, entertainment, empowerment, elucidation, and, ultimately, enlightenment through all-ages do-it-together hands-on fix-n-learn community-sponsored and community-led discovery, disassembly, troubleshooting and repair.”

Peter has keynoted for the IEEE Consumer Technology Society (CTSoc) at the Consumer Electronics Show and for the Zero Waste USA annual conference and has presented to WIRED magazine’s RE:WIRED Green Climate Action Conference, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Armed Services Makerspaces. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the E-town eChievement Award and the California Resource Recovery Association Pavitra Crimmel Reuse Award.

is a leading practitioner in lean innovation, applying agile methods from software development to hardware and durable goods. He’s also the founder of the MIT Entrepreneurs Clubcofounder of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition and mentors academic startups at MIT, UC Berkeley, and UCSF.

Ron Ramsay

Agincourt: Not Just a Battle Anymore

The Agincourt project began as a history-based architectural exercise for students, first as a seminar and then as a design studio. Each student could choose to design any building type in any period during the years 1850-the present. But their design must be consistent with the socio-economic condition and technology of the time. And, most important, their design must tell a story. An exploration of the relationship between narrative and design, between storytelling and placemaking, Ron Ramsay’s talk will explore the intimate, integral relationship between narrative and design, the conditions that shape environment, and the cyclical nature of history.

Ron Ramsay is the creator of Agincourt, Iowa and an associate professor of architecture at NDSU. He is the co-author of The Buildings of North Dakota (Society of Architectural Historians’ “Buildings of the United States” series) with Steven C. Martens and has been the curator of multiple exhibits, including three at the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead, MN, related to “The Agincourt Project” (2007, 2015, 2018).

David Thomas

Drawing from Lived Experiences as an Indigenous Designer

Recently in Canada, a new generation of Indigenous people have made inroads into the profession of architecture and design. Many of these design professionals actively challenge how design for Indigenous people has been done in the past. These designers offer an Indigenous Knowledge base with a firsthand understanding of the effects of colonization. Recent work has broken barriers that have galvanized Indigenous identities to past stereotypes. Responding from the heart, communicating with an understanding cultivated by our Indigenous mothers, we as designers can create, find our way, see in dreams, bring delight to our elders, and inspire our youth. David discusses his work in the context of being true to Indigenous values and the realities of the design profession

David Thomas is from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba and a graduate the Master of Architecture program at the University of Manitoba. He is currently the manager of planning and design for Treaty #1, developing a 110-acre First Nation economic development zone in the City of Winnipeg. In 2018, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale as part Canada’s submission: Unceded: Voices of the Land, featuring 18 Indigenous architects from Canada and the U.S. David is currently guiding the final stages of design for the Indigenous Peoples Garden, part of Canada’s Diversity Garden in Winnipeg. As a part of the design team at Prairie Architects, he was involved in the design of Migizi Agamik Indigenous Student Centre at the University of Manitoba, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Re-development, and many other First Nations architecture projects. David draws from lived experiences as an Indigenous person to create placemaking projects that include the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, as well as presenting internationally in Aotearoa and the UK. David mentors and actively supports young Indigenous designers in the community.  


Check out past Lake Superior Design Retreat speakers here.