EMERGING AUSTIN: Future Cyborg City Panel

Thursday, September 24, 2015

PANEL: Austin: Future Cyborg City

Already home to both the world’s largest prosthetics company as well as the oldest, Austin has recently emerged as a hub for major advances in 3D printing and robotics research. Tech advances in Austin with military installations in neighboring San Antonio and Killeen, put Austin at literal crossroads of research and development position Austin to be one of the next top cyborg cities. Emerging Austin’s Cyborg City panel will examine the state of Austin’s unique position in this field, and ask how the city’s entrepreneurs and innovators can help lead the community onto the global stage. #cyborg

Moderator || Tamsen Barrett, Sr. Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright

Tamsen Barrett, Norton Rose Fulbright, ATC Emerging Austin Conference, Medtech conference, Healthcare Tech, Austin Life sciences, Austin TechTamsen focuses her practice on intellectual property matters which include domestic and foreign patent prosecution, enforcement, and strategic development of patent portfolios. Tamsen’s experience emphasizes biotechnology related matters, and her experience includes the areas of genetic engineering, gene therapy, molecular biotechnology assays, drug screening and targeting, biotechnology, renewable energy, clean energy technologies, plants, organic chemistry, pharmaceutical development and medical devices.

Tamsen counsels clients regarding the development, management, and commercialization of commercially valuable intellectual property portfolios on a global scale. She has significant experience with the preparation of enforceability, validity, patentability, and freedom-to-operate opinions and provides due diligence review of intellectual property to companies and investors.




Richard MacKinnon, Founder & CEO, BorgFest

Richard MacKinnon, Borgfest, Emerging Austin Conference, ATC Conference, Austin Tech Council, Austin Life Sciences, Medtech ConferenceRichard MacKinnon is CEO of Borgfest, a Cyborg festival based in Austin. BorgFest is a pride festival for cyborgs and expo for human augmentation, enhancement, body modification, and wearable technology. Many of the participants themselves have been augmented as a result of accident, injury, war, illness, disease, or congenital defect. Others may have been augmented for personal, professional, artistic, stylistic, philosophical, political, or religious reasons. Some of the participants are industry or academic leaders in the fields that provide products and services to this community.



Laura Bosworth, Co-Founder & CEO, TeVido BioDevices

Laura-Bosworth-Emerging AustinLaura Bosworth is CEO and co-founder of TeVido BioDevices.  Ms. Bosworth is a dynamic former Fortune 50 executive with over 25 years of cross-functional industry experience. With over 18 years in product, process and service development at both the engineering and marketing level, she has experience launching new business start-ups within a larger corporation. She has led numerous successful strategy efforts.

Ms. Bosworth developed curricula, taught and provided mentorship with  several applied entrepreneurship programs (EDCO Ventures, Texas State University and  AVINDE) focused on mentoring aspiring underrepresented and women entrepreneurs , to develop their own high-growth (more than a $1 Million) companies. Ms. Bosworth has served on UTEP’s College of Engineering Advisory Board and in 2010, she led a task force that recommended a strategy to create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and is now involved in its implementation.

Ms. Bosworth has volunteered for numerous non-profits, primarily supporting women’s needs in the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) field as well as domestic violence – in Board positions as well as providing direct service.  She volunteers as a Spanish interpreter at a Healthcare Clinic that serves low-income individuals.


Joseph Sadowski, CPO, U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs, Center for the Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center
Joseph Sadowski, CPO, serves at the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center and Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital. As a clinical prosthetist orthotist he is dedicated to providing state of the art care to our Service Members and Veterans.


Youngmok Yun, PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering, UT Austin Rehab and Neuromuscular Robotics Lab
Yongmock Yun, UT Austin, Cyborg City, Austin Tech Council, ATC Emerging Austin Conference, Austin Life Sciences, Austin TechYoungmok Yun received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2006 and 2008, respectively, from Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, Korea. He is currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in the Department of Mechanical engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA. His major research interest is in the development of exoskeletons for rehabilitation. Youngmok Yun is a recipient of the UT Graduate School Named Continuing Fellowship in 2014 and the National Scholarship of the Government of S.Korea in 2012.




More About Emerging Austin:
Spotlight On the Financing the Future Panel
Spotlight on the Technology Advances Panel
The Austin Startup Showcase
Emerging Austin: Healthcare Tech – The Panels at a Glance


Emerging Austin: Healthcare Tech Conference

Thursday, September 24, 2015
11:00AM – 6:00PM
AT&T Conference Center (map)

Register now to save your seat!

Borgfest executive director Rich MacKinnon interviewed on BodPod


Jené Gutierrez of the podcast BodPod writes,

“In Episode Eleven, I talk with cyborg aficionado Richard MacKinnon. Richard is the founder of Borgfest, a festival and expo that celebrates and supports people interested in human augmentation, enhancement, body modification, and wearable technology. In graduate school, Richard studied political theory and identity in cyberspace, which led him to his interest in all things cyborg. We talk about how his personal experience as a queer Asian American affected his conception of the term; how the cyborg label could be used to define many aspects of the marriage of the human and the technological; how the film Ex Machina fulfills certain sci-fi tropes and applies to Richard’s conception of the cyborg; and how the sex industry could be affected by the evolution of technology. A provocative and insightful talk!”

[Listen to the Interview]

Borgfest @ Wearable Wednesday: Exoskeletons and Robotic Limbs

WWEDWhat: Borgfest @ Wearable Wednesday: Exoskeletons and Robotic Limbs

When: April 22, 6-10pm

Where: AT&T Labs (Tickets Required via Eventbrite)

EXOSKELETONS AND ROBOTIC LIMBS!  At the Social Robot Social, we will get to interact with robots as independents, two days later, we’ll get to see robots become a part of our bodies.  Join us as we team up again with Wearable Wednesday to bring you another episode of extreme wearables at the Austin outpost of the world-famous AT&T Labs!

Extreme Wearables:  Exoskeletons and Robotic Limbs

Real-world demonstration of technology inspired by and featured in sci-fi like Robocop, Star Wars, Alien, Elysium, Edge of Tomorrow.


6:00PM – Networking and Demos (Event Sponsorship Available)

6:45PM – Introduction by Rich MacKinnon, Wearable World Ambassador, founder and executive director of Borgfest.

6:50PM – Speakers, Presentations, and Q&A moderated by Rich MacKinnon.

8:35PM – Wrap Up, Feedback, and Announcements

8:50PM – After-Party (demos continue)

10:00PM – Good night!

hash tags:

#borgfest #WWED

About our presenters

R-ARMMatt Nojoomi, lead developer, r.ARM. As both an engineer and an entrepreneur, Matthew aims to commercialize the r.ARM: Robotic Assistive Reaching Mechanism. The r.ARM is a low-cost, safe, and portable robotic reaching aid for wheelchair bound patients. His presentation will walk through the story behind the development of the r.ARM, its impact on a young man’s life, and its future as the first affordable robotic reaching aid.


reneu-RRE2_thumbAshish D. Deshpande is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Texas since 2011.  Dr. Deshpande directs the Rehabilitation and Neuromuscular (ReNeu) Robotics Lab. The Lab focuses on the development of robotic devices, based on biomechanical analyses, to assist in rehabilitation, to improve prostheses design, and to provide fitness opportunities for the severely disabled. The study of underlying mechanisms of human movement control through human subject experiments and mathematical modeling is another major research area in the ReNeu Robotic Lab.

The ReNeu Robotics Lab has a special interest in the study of hands, and is currently developing robotic hands for prosthetic and rehabilitation applications, and conducting human subject studies for an improved understanding of human hand biomechanics and control.

rewalk-deviceAndy McCord has been licensed as a Physical Therapist in Texas since 2001 after receiving a MSPT degree from Texas Woman’s University. He also holds a degree in Marketing from Texas Christian University. Andy is currently the South Central Business Development Manager for ReWalk Robotics. In this capacity he sells and trains clinicians, technicians, and patients on how to properly assess and operate the ReWalk exoskeleton device. Andy also has 9 years experience selling DME and OR devices, which also included training therapist, nurses, surgeons, and other staff on the safe and effective use of the devices.

Get Involved

Support the Borgfest 2015 Event Series with your Official Borgfest Membership.  Join today.

Not on the Borgfest Updates email list?  View an example and see what you’re missing.  Then subscribe!

About Wearable Wednesdays

Wearable Wednesday events are an open community forum focused on the blending of technology, art and humanity in the Wearable Technology and Internet of Things ecosystem.  Our goals is to provide a platform for industry innovators, entrepreneurs, builders and investors to connect with like-minded, motivated people with the knowledge, vision, and partnerships that will move the Internet of Wearable Things forward.  Group Meetups will include both technicaland market-oriented sessions.  Wearable Wednesdays are held globally across the world’s top tech centers, including San Francisco, New York, Dallas, and London, and we continue to launch new locations periodically.  Meet the most innovative wearable tech entrepreneurs in your community, demo products, share ideas and discuss trends in both local and global markets.

About Wearable World

Wearable World connects businesses to the social fabric of the Internet of Wearable Things. Our goal is to provide an innovation platform to foster the blend of technology, art and humanity. Through news content, incubator and accelerator programs, and events, Wearable World acts as the catalyst for future Wearable Technology innovation. The Wearable World platform addresses the need for entrepreneurs to connect, learn, and engage the wider Wearable Technology global ecosystem. For additional information, please visit

About AT&T Labs

Starting with the invention of the telephone, AT&T Labs have created some of the world’s major innovations across a broad spectrum of technology. These innovations range from IP network management and optical technology to automatic speech recognition and next-generation text-to-speech products. With Labs locations across the country and hundreds of the world’s best researchers, technologists and engineers, AT&T is more equipped than ever to handle the drive towards innovation.

About ReWalk Robotics

ReWalk Robotics (formerly Argo Medical Technologies) develops, manufactures and markets wearable robotic exoskeletons for people with lower limb disabilities, such as paraplegia. ReWalk’s mission is to fundamentally change the health and life experiences of individuals with spinal cord injury. ReWalk is proud to offer the only FDA cleared exoskeleton systems in the United States, for rehabilitation and personal use. Founded in 2001, ReWalk Robotics is a global company with headquarters in the US, Germany, and Israel. For more information on ReWalk Robotics and the ReWalk Systems, please visit

Borgfest Social Robot Social @ Dorkbot

Borgfest Social Robot Social @ Dorkbot

If you missed our wildly successful outing at the SXSW Robot Petting Zoo, then you’ll be thrilled to know that you’ll have a second chance to meet some really cool robots!

When: April 20, 2015, 7-10:30pm

Where: ATX Hackerspace

Tickets: Free event, but please RSVP and participate in the Borgfest fundraiser raffle (Borgfest members get a free raffle ticket.  Support Borgfest and become a member now!)

ZanePictured here is Zane McCarthy (Borgfest Robotics Division) demonstrating DAR-1,  a robot cleverly acronymically named after creator Ray Renteria‘s children.  DAR-1 is an autonomous social robot of the hexapod genus. Curious about people, he’ll study your eyes and your smile with the intensity of a focused child.  He’s shy, though.  If you get a little too close to him, he’ll get nervous and try to back away.  See how long you get him to keep following your eyes by looking deep into his.  DAR-1 is a social robot with the purpose of challenging people’s notions of what it means to be “alive.” He is a showcase for inexpensive technology that can be brought together to produce a highly performant and nimble robot for various applications. DAR-1 demonstrates the power of the open source OpenCV computer vision technology.

Bradley Knox says his Emoters are robot pets that are both simple and lifelike. They live in a small cage, where they live their lives. Emoters are interested in people, but they’re more engaged with each other and the world inside their cages. Like a cross between a Tamagotchi and an ant farm, Emoters fill a role somewhere between a real pet and a video game.

Calling All Robots!  In case it isn’t clear, a social robot social means BRING YOUR ROBOTS. This is a robotic convocation, gathering, and happy hour. We know your robots will enjoy the presentations by the featured robots and their humans.  All human-friendly robots welcome.

Join DAR-1, the Emoters, and more at a very special edition of Dorkbot this month.  And if a robot happy hour isn’t enough, just a few days later we’ll be hosting an event demonstrating how robots are becoming part of our bodies.  That’s right.  At long last, we are bringing you up close to an exoskeleton and robotic limbs!  I can’t think of a more exciting way to show you the connection between robotics and people.

Hash tags:

#borgfest #dorkbot #socialrobotsocial

Online Raffle Rules

Every Borgfest event builds community with our fans and sponsors and raises funds towards the goal of a weekend-long festival.  At this event, we’ll be conducting an online raffle.  You can purchase your raffle tickets when RSVP’ing for the event via Eventbrite.  There will be no on-site raffle sales.  We’ll announce the winners during the robot social portion of the evening.  You must be present to win.  Here are the raffle prizes:

Laptop (Dell E6400 with a Core2Duo 2.53 ghz, 2GB of RAM, 160GB HDD, DVDRW, Window 7 Pro) donated by Discount Electronics

Two (2) $25 gift certificates donated by DFG Noodles

One (1) Borgfest 2015 Carbonite Membership or Next Level Upgrade

One (1) Autopilot for Phantom by Autoflight Logistics

Read the official Dorkbot announcement

SXSW Cyborg Decompression Evening


New Republic

Borgfest founder Rich MacKinnon sporting his face rig

SXSW Decompression Evening with special guest Jackie Todd of the documentary film, Diary of a CyborgMarch 21, 7-10pm  [Get tickets]

Mix with Borgfest fans, savor Bladerunner noodles, and enjoy a screening of a cyborg fan favorite.  Hosted at the home of Borgfest founder and executive director, Rich MacKinnon.   Ticket proceeds fund Borgfest activities and festival.   Sponsorship: Available.


Hash tags

#borgfest #sxsw #cyborgdiary

Borgfest @ SXSW Robot Petting Zoo

Borgfest @ SXSW Robot Petting Zoo

Borgfest @ SXSW Robot Petting Zoo


March 15-17, 11am-6pm [see details]

Borgfest is hosting three robots at the Robot Petting Zoo!!

The Robot Petting Zoo brings out friendly ground & aerial robots for SXSW attendees to touch, operate, and even program. Robot handlers will explain the parts of the robot and how they work before setting kindly humans loose to interact, learn, and play. Spatially-oriented humans will get to play with robots whose functions mimic those of humans. Humans wishing to slip the surly bonds of earth will meet robots who have flown above disasters to gather critical data. Humans interested in Macgyver-esque robots will meet robots that can serve many purposes, such as flying while 3D printing. Creative and empathic humans will program Romibo to speak in different languages to calm and befriend young children in crises. Come meet these and many more robots that await your friendship at the Robotics Petting Zoo.

Additionally, all Robot Handlers will give short presentations about their robots on a stage to an audience throughout the event March 15-17. Be sure to check out the schedule for great presentations by a variety of roboticists.

Meet roboticist Ray Renteria‘s DAR-1, cleverly acronymically named after his children.  DAR-1 is an autonomous social robot of the hexapod genus. Curious about people, he’ll study your eyes and your smile with the intensity of a focused child.  He’s shy, though.  If you get a little too close to him, he’ll get nervous and try to back away.  See how long you get him to keep following your eyes by looking deep into his.  DAR-1 is a social robot with the purpose of challenging people’s notions of what it means to be “alive.” He is a showcase for inexpensive technology that can be brought together to produce a highly performant and nimble robot for various applications. DAR-1 demonstrates the power of the open source OpenCV computer vision technology.

Bradley Knox says his Emoters are robot pets that are both simple and lifelike. They live in a small cage, where they live their lives. Emoters are interested in people, but they’re more engaged with each other and the world inside their cages. Like a cross between a Tamagotchi and an ant farm, Emoters fill a role somewhere between a real pet and a video game.

In this exhibit, primitive emoters are on display. They are bigger and less intelligent than the Emoters that will come later. Yet like later Emoters, they move around on their own and interact with people.

Nikko, is named after the main flying monkey in the Wizard of Oz, says Dave Santilena.  This flying monkey is a remote-controlled aerial robot in a monkey costume.  It has two onboard cameras and uses an ipad as a controller. When airborne, you will be able to see what Nikko sees as he flies high above the crowd by looking at the monitor.  Aerial robots or drones have many specialized uses such as aerial video, police surveillance, pipeline inspection and many others.  Nikko’s sole purpose is to entertain, scare children and small animals, and perhaps lead to interesting conversations.  Nikko will not be able to be pet but the controller will be covered by flying monkey fur so you will be able to get the idea of what he feels like.



#sxsw #RoboPetZoo #borgfest

Borgfest partners with Thwacke! to bring science reality to cyborg fans

“In 2014, Borgfest founder Richard MacKinnon approached Thwacke! with a vision for a conference to celebrate the evolving possibilities of being human,” says Thwacke! co-founder Sebastian Alvarado.   Thwacke_logo21According to MacKinnon, “Borgfest envisions a cultural, entertainment, education, and pride event for those whose bodies and identities have been intervened upon by technology whether by injury, illness, or intention.  The longer we live, the likelihood of becoming a cyborg becomes greater.  This festival celebrates and supports the cyborgs among us.”  Says Alvarado, “Thwacke! saw a unique opportunity to  step away from the science of fiction and offer a series of lectures from which a general audience of Borgfest attendees could benefit. Our offering will bring a symposium of speakers responsible for the basic research in fields that intersect with human augmentation such as neuroscience, physiology, and robotics. With our involvement, we expect to publicly advocate the research our group is responsible for and the ways it can directly benefit humankind.”  MacKinnon adds, “Many Borgfest fans are no doubt fans of science fiction.  Our partnership with Twacke! will help our fans better understand the real world science behind the fiction that is shaping and evolving the possibilities of being human.”

Stay tuned for a Borgfest/Thwacke event!   See the Borgfest 2015 event calendar.

Read the announcement on the Thwacke website.

Panel Discussion: How technology is evolving the healthcare industry

[New!  The moderation guide with preparation questions for the panelists has been posted.  Join the Borgfest Meet Up group to discuss and ask follow up questions]

Event Details

The proliferation of new technologies across the health and wellness space promises to revolutionize our healthcare experiences. We’ve already seen widespread adoption of tracking apps and wearables by millions of people. But what is the reality of these technologies? What is the next evolution? And what is the real impact that current and future technologies will have on healthcare?

Our carefully selected, expert panelists will provide a view into the current state and future direction of healthcare technology. Join projekt202 at the The Livestrong Foundation for a robust and lively panel discussion about how health technology can impact behavior change and improve health outcomes, how wearables will evolve to provide more value, and how technology will become further embedded with the human body to augment our abilities.

Drinks and appetizers will be provided.

6:00-6:30pm Meet & Greet
6:30-6:45pm Introduction from Peter Eckert, Co-Founder and CEO of projekt202
6:45-8:00pm Panel Discussion & Q/A led by Kijana Knight-Torres, Principal Experience Researcher for projekt202
8:00-8:30pm Networking

About our Panelists:

Kyle Samani, CoFounder and CEO, Pristine
Pristine powers smart glasses in clinical use for greater efficiency, increased quality, and hands-free telemedicine. Prior to starting Pristine, Kyle worked at VersaSuite, a company that builds electronic medical records (EMRs) for hospitals. He spent three years there: one year in engineering, one year in sales, and one year in product management. At VersaSuite, he learned how to build, sell, and deploy enterprise software into complex work environments. He started Pristine immediately after the general availability of Google Glass in May 2013. At Pristine, Kyle is responsible for fund raising, setting the vision and strategy, recruiting executives, and sales.

Robin Krieglstein, Behavior Design Consultant
Robin is a member of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab with Dr. BJ Fogg. He has specialized in applying behavioral psychology to technology for over 25 years as a designer, developer, founder, and consultant. Robin founded the Design Group at LeapFrog Toys; founded the first gamified, goal-achievement social network; has consulted for over a dozen Fortune 500s; and did health behavior design at Badgeville for brands like Kaiser, Oracle, Jillian Michaels and Bob Greene. He holds a BA in Computer Science with a focus on Educational Software Design from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Richard MacKinnon, Founder and Executive Director, BorgFest Human Augmentation Expo.
Rich is creating the world’s first festival for cyborgs—to celebrate and support those among us whose bodies and identities have changed—largely from trauma, degeneration, or disease, but also electively. Rich wants to shape the culture induced by the fantastic changes brought about through the rapid technological achievements in health and life sciences. When we provide a prosthetic, for instance, we are no longer replacing lost capability. We are catalyzing a remade identity which may be more empowered than it was before. The story is moving beyond disability to bionic legs, but he believes we need to remain focused on our ability to dance.

Pär Axelsson, Director of UX Research, FloSports
Pär is the Director of User Experience Research at FloSports, Inc here in Austin, TX. He has over 10 years experience in UX and Human Factors research, across a variety of products and services, in different domains. In early 2014 he was diagnosed with Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA), which is a rare form of Type 1 diabetes. After a few months of insulin treatment using regular injections and finger sticks several times a day, he has now moved to using an Omnipod Insulin pump and a Dexcome Continuos Glucose Monitor, which both are attached to his body. This allows him to administer insulin and monitor blood glucose wirelessly via a PDM, which has eliminated the need for injections, significantly reduced the number of daily finger sticks, and thus made it easier for him to manage his condition. The only downside is that each device requires a separate handheld device and, consequently, his pockets are always very full.

Hosted by:

The LIVESTRONG Foundation
The LIVESTRONG Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer now. For 18 years, the Foundation has provided a voice of the cancer survivor and directly served more than 2.5 million people. LIVESTRONG answer survivors’ questions, tells their stories, and helps them live their lives through direct service, advocacy and inventive partnership models. In 2014, the Foundation launched its boldest enterprise yet –the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. The Institutes will be a pioneering approach to patient-centered cancer care designed by survivors to deliver the best teaching practices and the greatest collaborative research to serve the cancer community.

For help with a cancer diagnosis for you or a loved one, please For other information about our programs and services, visit

Borgfest gets a nice mention in the Irish Times!

Borgfest gets a nice mention in the Irish Times!

“It took many identity crises to accept that I was part- cyborg.” — Louise Bruton, and her amazing, empowering prosthetic leg, Priscilla.

”I brought Priscilla on a road trip across the US last month, and she was invited to an event in Austin, Texas, by Richard MacKinnon, the co-creator of BorgFest. BorgFest celebrates human augmentation, enhancement, body modification and wearable technology. The use of the word cyborg is a little bit daunting, but when you consider that a prosthesis can open up a whole new world of possibilities, it feels less like a disability and becomes more empowering.”


Read the article on our Facebook page

Read the original invitation to meet Louise


Borgfest sponsoring Cyborg Poetry contest

In partnership with the Austin Poetry Society, we’re sponsoring a cyborg poetry contest that celebrates and supports those with prosthetics, orthotics, implants, transplants, augmentations, performance enhancements, body mod, quantified selves, or wearable tech.

We’d like dedication suggestions for a person, persons, or organization.


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