ARPA-H + MIT Media Lab


Courtesy: ARPA-H

Courtesy: ARPA-H

by David Sweeney

May 11, 2023

The Media Lab is an interdisciplinary creative playground rooted squarely in academic rigor, comprising dozens of research groups, initiatives, and centers working collaboratively on hundreds of projects. We focus not only on creating and commercializing transformational future technologies, but also on their potential to impact society for good.

We categorize our work into five collective research themes: Connected Mind + Body, Cultivating Creativity, Decentralized Society, Future Worlds, and Life with AI


Kumu + MIT Media Lab

  1. With ARPA-H's mission of "accelerating better health outcomes for everyone by supporting the development of high-impact solutions to society's most challenging health problems" in mind, we'll focus on our Connected Mind + Body research theme.


Connected Mind + Body:

Revolutionizing the future of mental and physical wellbeing                                      

The Challenge 

Mental health and wellbeing needs are growing globally due to inequities, the pandemic, and the general stresses of a hyper-connected life. At the same time, the number of people with physical disabilities is dramatically increasing due to demographic trends and chronic health conditions. How can we address these urgent needs while reducing the stigma and discrimination that often accompany these challenges? 

According to a 2020 CDC study, 40% of American adults struggle with mental health or substance abuse issues. WHO data indicates that more than 275 million people worldwide suffer from an anxiety disorder, and nearly as many suffer from depression, costing the global economy one trillion dollars yearly. Their data also show that people with physical disability experience poorer health outcomes, have less access to education and work opportunities, and are more likely to live in poverty than those without a disability. In both cases—and for various reasons—patients are not getting the necessary health care services.

The Media Lab’s View 

There is an opportunity to revolutionize and improve mental and physical wellbeing using digital technologies and human-computer interaction. 

  • Digital Mental Health
    Wearables, nearables, immersive systems & sensors, AI and ML, HCI, and affective AI for monitoring, predicting, and intervening for mental wellbeing in naturalistic settings.
  • Restoring and Augmenting Human Physical Capability
    Restoring function to individuals with impaired mobility due to trauma or disease and developing technologies that augment human performance beyond what nature intends.
  • Preventative and Responsive Healthcare
    Diagnostics, ingestibles, implantables, and wearables for early-stage detection, mediation, and therapies.
  • Women’s Health 
    Developing new and more intelligent solutions for women’s unique health issues, including breast cancer, menopause, and maternity.
  • Aging with Dignity 
    Inventing novel and compassionate technologies for aging in the comfort of the home while mitigating loneliness to assist the growing elderly populations in developing countries.
  • Resilient Systems 
    Designing responsive and resilient social and public health systems leveraging multidisciplinary technologies and methods.

Selection of Connected Mind+ Body Projects


The Media Lab is supported by a diverse array of members, including some of the world’s leading organizations.

"The velocity of ideas is higher here than in any corporate environment."

Roger Meike
Director of Innovation, Intuit

Explore research groups below working in the Connected Mind + Body theme