Past Member

Nan Zhao

Former Research Affiliate
  • Responsive Environments

Nan Zhao is a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab. Her research aspiration is to improve people's daily experience by making our living environments more dynamic and responsive to our needs. She received a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT and a Dipl. -Ing. degree in Electrical Engineering from RWTH Aachen University in Germany. Her work spans from intelligent building control to smart urban furniture and connects various fields, including electrical engineering, design, and psychology.

Nan's recent work aims to address a growing need for better work environments by investigating how adaptive architecture could benefit the workplace. In particular, she is interested in using multisensory media to improve office spaces for creative, focused and restorative activities. In a previous project, Nan co-foundered Soofa, a smart city startup, which introduced a solar charging bench for public spaces. This bench supplies citizens with free green energy and provides the city with environmental data. Before joining the Media Lab, Nan conducted research on smart control for electricity grids and electric vehicle charging at the Imperial College London and at RWE in Germany.

Nan authored several academic publications and her work has been covered by news outlets such as Reuters, FAZ, CNN, and others.

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