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"The lab is a rare place whose role is to interpret technological and scientific advances for improving the quality of life for all people. "
Yael created a new type of electromagnetic sensor for biology using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) based on his group's work developing a table-top computer, and was a co-founder of ThinkCycle, a grassroots, online organization to harness the "brain cycles" of university students worldwide to solve technological problems in the developing world.
Yael received both master's and PhD degrees. He is co-founder and CTO of ThingMagic, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts that specializes in RFID (radio frequency identification) readers, sensors, and other embedded and low-cost computing technologies.
"MIT is a great place to interact and collaborate with others. The innumerable perspectives and expertise at the Institute allows ideas to grow by a multifaceted critique and constant re-invention. The positive and entrepreneurial environment allows students with initiative to be daring and adventurous. "
Ryan earned bachelor’s degrees in architecture and civil engineering from the Catholic University of America, and a master’s in architecture from MIT.
Ryan Chin and his colleagues are (among other things) building the car of the future—a stackable, electric, shared two-passenger city vehicle that rethinks urban mobility. This work, in collaboration with General Motors, takes into account problems of parking, congestion, communication, and energy distribution, and considers the best and most efficient uses of available resources in an urban environment. The project also serves as a platform for investigating Ryan's interests in mass-customization and personalization in product-development processes.
"The Media Lab is an extraordinary place to work and create. Every day I’m surrounded by a community of incredibly creative people with extremely diverse backgrounds and multidisciplinary approaches. It is an environment unlike any other. We are each other’s inspirations, resources, and friends. It’s no wonder great ideas for the future are born in this midst. "
Peter received his bachelor’s degree in media arts from the University of Arizona. Before coming to the Media Lab, he spent several years freelancing in video production and software development. His hobbies and interests include visual-effects production, theatrical lighting and design, music composition, and computer science.
Peter’s research is part of his group's effort to create systems for interactive media, arts, and performance. His work has been integral to the design and implementation of technologies for the opera Death and the Powers, including the Disembodied Performance System that, driven by an off-stage actor’s performance, allows the theatrical set to come alive as a character.
David studied cognitive science and human-computer interaction at Stanford, earning both a BS and MS.
David's interest in music led him to build FlexiGesture, a musical instrument that learns the player, rather than the player learning the instrument. His other research interests include designing ubiquitous/pervasive systems and interfaces for expressive gestural media manipulation. His work was on a project called Siftables, a collection of small, wirelessly networked devices that can physically embody and display pieces of media, as well as sense how they are being manipulated.
After completing his PhD, David started a company, Sifteo, with other Media Lab alumni to continue work on his Siftables project.
"The Media Lab is an incredibly special place. You're surrounded by great people who come from a wide variety of intellectual backgrounds. It's an environment that constantly affords new perspectives on your research, helping to make your work stronger and more relevant. Every day I'm excited and grateful to be a part of this community. "
Karen came to the Media Lab in 2007, after having explored music, computer science, mathematics, and education in her post-secondary studies. She has a BSc in computer science and mathematics, a BEd in the same areas, and an MA in curriculum studies, all from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Karen's research is primarily concerned with the ways in which learning communities support computational creators—and how technologies and environments can be designed for these communities. More concretely, her work focuses on the Scratch website and Scratch educator community. Karen studies how participation in the Scratch online community and how professional development for educators can support young people as creators of computational media.
"I especially love the Lab's cross-disciplinary approach, which recognizes that some of the most interesting problems lie at the junctions of traditionally separated “fields.” Here, I can be a computer scientist AND a performing artist, and can conduct work that draws on all my different interests. "
Elly was an undergraduate at Amherst College, where she double majored in computer science and theater/dance. She has experience in a wide range of the performing arts (including stage and costume design, choreography, and stage direction), as well as in programming and electronics.
Elly's research primarily focuses on new technologies for performance capture and expressive gestural interaction. She has worked on a range of projects, from technologies to transform an opera singer's performance into the behavior of a robotic set for her group's large-scale opera project, Death and the Powers, to a glove that allows a singer to capture and manipulate his or her own voice. She is particularly interested in the ways that technology and the performing arts can combine in essential and compelling ways to create new means of expression and new performance experiences.
"While I was at the Media Lab I was able to leverage my background in engineering and management to address a very real-world issue: promoting technological fluency in underserved communities. The opportunity to do cutting-edge research and give back to the community at the same time will remain with me for my entire life. "
Randal was a member of the Lifelong Kindergarten group, and worked with members of the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to launch a comprehensive community technology and community building initiative at Camfield Estates, an affordable housing development in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. While a graduate student, he was named Graduate Student of the Year by the National Society of Black Engineers.
Randal, a 2002 PhD recipient, is best known as the 2005 winner of NBC’s hit reality television show The Apprentice with Donald Trump. He is co-founder, chairman, and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar management, technology, and policy consulting firm based in Newark, NJ. He is the author of several books including Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur’s Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business and The No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash.
"I feel lucky to be surrounded by such insanely talented people that are humble, friendly and love to collaborate. At the Media Lab, you are your only limitation. "
In industry, Greg worked with all sorts of companies, from large corporations like Dell, the BBC, and Steelcase to the counter-culture innovators like Thunderdog Studios, Behance, and Obsessable. He received his MS from ACE (Arts Computation Engineering interdisciplinary program) in the Informatics & Computer Science Department at the University of California, Irvine. He received a BS in cognitive science and computation (a combination of computer science, neuroscience, and psychology) from the University of California, San Diego.
While at the Lab, Greg and alum Aaron Zinman worked with the United Nations Development Program, the Clinton Foundation, and Digicel on a project for Haiti called Konbit. Konbit is a mobile-phone-based system that helps organizations find and hire local labor instead of relying on foreign workers. The system was deployed in Port au Prince, and has received positive results from a trial in Miami. Now that he has graduated, Greg continues to work on Konbit, and with Aaron has launched a company, Empirical, that explores how to use visualizations to help us better understand the people with interact with online.
"When I'm at the Lab, I feel like my brain is turned fully ON. "
Laurel received BS and MEng degrees from MIT in computer science and electrical engineering, and a BS in music. She paid her way through her MIT undergraduate years using ROTC, and was required to join the Air Force after graduation. Laurel spent six years in the Air Force as a communications engineer, completing tours in Turkey, Germany, and Qatar, and spent her final year as a UN Peacekeeper in Liberia, West Africa. Upon returning to civilian life, she worked as a ProTools software engineer at Digidesign in San Francisco.
A fanatic about both music and building things, Laurel's expertise is in digital hardware and embedded programming. She hopes to make a meaningful contribution to the worlds of audio and performance through informed design of new controllers and software that "listens." This ranges from designing new chips to better process audio in embedded environments, to using sensors both to build quality music controllers, and to make use of processing tools and algorithms to develop musically expressive performance tools.
"They wouldn't let me take all these toys with me, so I figured I had to stay! "
Sean received a BS in engineering: product design, with a minor in computer science, from Stanford University. While at Stanford he researched with the HCI group, working on prototyping tools for physical computing. Before coming to the Media Lab, Sean worked at Nokia Research Palo Alto on networked toys for long-distance family communications.
Sean's research examines how we can integrate physical objects into the digital design process more seamlessly, as well as how new interfaces for rapid prototyping machines will increase access to end users and children. In collaboration with Nokia Research, he is exploring how children can connect at a distance through play, storytelling, and artifact creation. He is studying how digital and tangible interfaces can create stronger relationships for long-distance families as well as empowering children as authors and designers.