Don Derek Haddad

Research Assistant
  • Responsive Environments

Don Derek Haddad  is a PhD candidate in Media Arts and Sciences at the Responsive Environments Group of the MIT Media Lab under the supervision of Prof. Joseph  A. Paradiso and a member of the MIT RESOURCE (Resource Exploration and Science of OUR Cosmic Environment), part of the SSERVI (Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute) scientific research body and supported by NASA Ames Research Center, under the supervision of Prof. Dava J. Newman. 

Don’s investigating the coupling of the Real, the Imaginary and the Virtual through a series of interdisciplinary research, including fields such as data visualization, 3D reconstruction and photogrammetry,  Extended Reality (VR/XR/AR), Immersive UI/UX, Telerobotics and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). Earning a  Master of Science in Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in February 2018 for his work on the topic of “Resynthesizing Reality: Driving Vivid Virtual Environments from Sensor Networks”. Don is developing and exploring ideas that relate to scalable presence, ranging between immersion and peripheral awareness, and dynamic representation of Humans, Non-Player Characters (NPCs), AI Agents / modern chatbots, Digital Twins (DT), sensor data, and unmanned vehicles in hybrid real / virtual environments, with past , and ongoing collaborations with  MIT Aeroastro, NASA, and robotics companies such as Boston Dynamics, Rover Robotics and Lunar outpost. 

Don’s broader interest in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) includes fields of wearable computing, ambient technology, smart-textile, and fashion. Through multiple collaborations on topics of digital knitting technologies and additive manufacturing. Featuring patented research on the methods and apparatus for sensor or controller that includes knitted fabric, and interactive installations such as Tapis Magique, winner of the 2022 Innovation Award at South by Southwest (SXSW22) and the 2022 International MIDI Award. Moreover, Don is an electronic music improviser and inventor of award winning electronic music instruments at international conferences such as  the New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), and the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). Most recently, Don entered the world of musical composition in the indie film industry, by scoring a short experimental film titled “Synthetic: Sync” that was qualified to international film festivals.