Ali Shtarbanov and Juliana Cherston take top awards at Tech Briefs Design Contest


L–R: Ali Shtarbanov, Juliana Cherston

L–R: Ali Shtarbanov, Juliana Cherston

Congratulations to both Ali Shtarbanov and Dr. Juliana Cherston of the Media Lab's Responsive Environments group for each being top prize winners in the Tech Briefs 2022 Create the Future Design Contest. 

As a premier engineering design competition, Create the Future brings together engineers, entrepreneurs, and students from around the world to create innovative solutions that benefit humanity, the economy, and the environment. Participants are provided an open platform to showcase their ideas and sound design principles, and to be recognized by an expert panel of independent judges

Ali Shtarbanov was awarded the Grand Prize for FlowIO, a fully integrated, miniature pneumatic development platform that allows researchers, engineers, artists, and makers of all backgrounds to create innovative projects and applications–without having to master complex hardware and software to make it run. Additional team members on the project include Ozgun Afsar, Hye Jun Youn, and Joseph Paradiso.

Juliana Cherston was awarded first place in the Aerospace and Defense category, for the project The Well-Dressed Spacecraft: Electronic Textile Enhanced Thermal Blanket as Debris (and Cosmic Dust) Sensor. Cherston’s project turns the exterior protective fabrics on spacecraft into impact sensors using vibration-sensitive piezoelectric fibers and impact plasma charge-sensing conductive fur. Additional team members on the project include Wei Yan, Grace Noel, Yuchen Sun, David Veysset, Steve Kooi, Syamantak Payra, Irmandy Wicaksono, Hajime Yano, Yoel Fink, and Joseph Paradiso.

"Juliana and Ali’s projects embody the essence of what the Media Lab is about—busting established paradigms and innovating in novel and impactful ways," says Joseph Paradiso, head of the Responsive Environments group. "Juliana's SpaceSkin rethinks the nature of spacecraft coverings as a sensate material, while Ali's FlowIO provides an intuitive and truly accessible way for communities to create and invent. Congratulations to them both for this terrific recognition.”

Shtarbanov and Cherston will present their projects at an awards dinner in New York City on November 11.

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