envision | invent | inspire: the Media Lab @ Aspen Ideas Festival 2013

Sunday — Monday
June 30, 2013 —
July 1, 2013


Aspen, CO


To create tomorrow's inventions, we must transcend what is recognizable and comfortable. To create new paths we must intuit and anticipate the future.
Vision-driven design is critical to cultivating leaps beyond the everyday, and it serves as a complement to needs-driven and technology-driven design.
At the Media Lab, more than 25 research groups work on more than 400 projects, exploring user interfaces, big data, smart prosthetics, the intersection of biology and building, the future of music and learning--and everything in between.
Join Hiroshi Ishii (Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and associate director of the Media Lab) and three PhD students from the Tangible Media research group as they provide an overview of their exciting work.


Hiroshi Ishii is Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where he is head of the Tangible Media group and co-director of the Things That Think (TTT) consortium. Ishii's research focuses upon the design of seamless interfaces between humans, digital information, and the physical environment. His group seeks to change the "painted bits" of GUIs to "tangible bits" by giving physical form to digital information. Their work emphasizes that the development of tangible interfaces requires the rigor of both scientific and artistic review. Ishii and his team have presented "Tangible Bits" at a variety of academic, design, and artistic venues such as ACM SIGCHI and SIGGRAPH, Industrial Design Society of America, AIGA, Ars Electronica, ICC, Centre Pompidou, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. A display of many of the group's projects took place at the NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC) in Tokyo in 2000, and at Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria from September 2001 to August 2004. Prior to joining the Media Lab in 1995, Ishii led a CSCW research group at NTT Human Interface Laboratories, where he and his team invented TeamWorkStation and ClearBoard. He was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Toronto in 1993 and 1994. Ishii received his BE degree in electronic engineering, and ME and PhD degrees in computer engineering, from Hokkaido University, Japan. In 2006 ACM SIGCHI elected Ishii to the CHI Academy, recognizing his substantial contributions to the field of Human-Computer Interactions through the creation of a new genre called "Tangible User Interfaces." Daniel Leithinger's current research focuses on actuated tangible interfaces and interactive shape displays. Prior to joining the Media Lab, he completed his MSc at the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences, Hagenberg and worked at research institutes such as the Futurelab (Linz, Austria); HITLab (Christchurch, NZ); Media Interaction Lab (Hagenberg, Austria); Interactive Media Lab (Singapore); and Disney Research Lab (Pittsburgh, US). His work has been published at conferences including ITS, TEI, CHI, and UIST, and demoed at SIGGRAPH, TEI, and Ars Electronica. He has received awards from the UIST Student Innovation Contest (2011), SIGGRAPH Research Challenge (2009), RTT Emerging Technology Contest (2008, 2011), Laval Virtual ReVolution Award (2007), Europrix Top Talent Award (2005, 2006), and the Austrian State Prize for Multimedia (2005). Chinese-born, American technologist Xiao Xiao is an interaction designer and artist. She is currently a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab. A lifelong pianist, she applies insights from the art of piano playing to human-computer interaction, designing interactions and experiences that elegantly bridge the digital and the physical. Her research has been presented at various conferences as well as featured on television programs around the world. Xiao received a bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering with a minor in architecture, and a master's in media arts and sciences, both from MIT. Lining Yao is a Chinese-born designer and maker of novel materials and interfaces. Yao is currently a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab, where she focuses on pushing Human Computer Interaction toward Human Material Interaction. Her research revolves around the intersection of novel materials, digital fabrication, and interaction design. Rather than computing the virtual data, she is trying to compute the physical material. Programming the physical states of a material’s shape, color, stiffness, texture, and density is the long-term goal of her research. Before coming to the Media Lab, she was deeply involved in the Chinese local design and manufacturing industry as a design consultant and entrepreneur. She has won numerous industrial design awards including Red Dot Award and iF Design Award. She received her BS and MFA in art and design, Zhejiang University, China, and an MS in media arts and sciences at MIT.

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