Wits Innovation Centre (WIC)

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Dr Adam Pantanowitz, Angela and David Fine Chair in Innovation and the Director of the Wits Innovation Centre (WIC)Dr Adam Pantanowitz

Angela and David Fine Chair in Innovation | Director of the Wits Innovation Centre

“Wits is a place brimming with all of the ingredients for innovation: brilliant minds, academic freedom, multi-disciplinary work, diversity of thought, and remarkable research. I see unbridled potential for us to solve problems from our unique vantage point, and ultimately to make change happen from within the Wits ecosystem for the benefit of society at large. The best part is that we can all be a part of this.”

Dr Adam Pantanowitz is an iconic biomedical and electrical engineer, well-known for initiating and leading the first group in the world to connect a human brain live and mobile to the internet in a project called the Brainternet – a term he coined. He joined the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at Wits University in 2009 where he lectures in engineering and medicine.

An artificial intelligence expert, technologist, and entrepreneur, Pantanowitz uses his applied sciences skills to make real-world impact. He is the co-founder or early-stage partner of multiple startups such as AURA (a mobile security app), Resolute Robotics (an online education forum to promote engineering and robotics), think3dots (an innovative incubator focused on biotechnology, AI, and engineering), and Tariffic (a platform to best predict a customer's preferred mobile plan).

His areas of expertise are applied artificial intelligence, ethics, biotechnology, engineering, and robotics. His research has been published in international peer-reviewed journals and has also resulted in a number of patents.

Pantanowitz’s collaborative projects with students and colleagues at Wits include an eye-controlled wheelchair; a non-cognitive brain transmission channel using light; a brain visual process model using light; a thought-controlled robotic arm with a light-invoked on/off switch; a hands-free controlled surgery interaction system; an AI system to evaluate efficacy of CPR; a computer-based sign language interpreter; and an eye-controlled mouse cursor using the vestibulo-ocular reflex, among others.

Pantanowitz completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Wits University, and holds Bachelors’ degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering (both with distinction), a Masters of Science in Engineering (with distinction), and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering focussed on AI applied in healthcare innovation.

He is an internationally recognised chartered engineer (Pr Eng, CEng, EUR ING, IntPE). He is one of the youngest global Fellows of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (UK) (FIET), and he is a Senior Member of the IEEE (SMIEEE) and of the SAIEE (SMSAIEE). He is also an expert at the Singularity Group.

Pantanowitz is a global motivational speaker who passionately incorporates technology, ideas, ethics and his own professional experience and personal journey in his talks on human-computer integration, AI, robotics, the future of business, productivity, and living as a human in the era of automation. He has spoken on 5 continents about innovation work he has done at Wits, and on motivational topics.