Workshops: Wednesday, April 24

Jon Tadiello

by Laura Seretta

April 8, 2019

April 24, 2019
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Spring 2019 Member Meeting
Workshops: Wednesday, April 24

The MIT Media Lab spring 2019 member meeting is an invitation-only event. 

Data for Refugees: Data-driven solutions for displaced populations

Isabella Loaiza and Michiel Bakker  |  E14-393

Refugee crises like those in Syria or Venezuela are pressing social challenges. Conflicts, broken economies, dysfunctional political systems, and climate change are driving forces for the displacements that could soon become the new normal. In this workshop, we will present and discuss recent work at the Media Lab in which we harness the power of data and artificial intelligence to address the challenges presented by these massive migrations; powerful datasets, passively collected through millions of mobile devices, enable the measurement of integration at an unprecedented scale and depth. We want to build on this work and engage with members to discuss how we can join forces and co-create the technology that has the potential to improve the lives of millions across the globe.

Ocean Discovery League: Sensors to Superpowers

Open Ocean Initiative  |  E14-514b

The ocean is vast and all life on Earth depends on it. It produces oxygen, sequesters carbon, regulates planetary temperature, and forms the the base of all food chains—there is no part of life on Earth the ocean does not touch. Yet less than 15 percent of the seafloor has been mapped to 100m resolution, and less than 5 percent of the seafloor has been observed with human eyes. We’ve mapped more of the moon, and only 12 human beings have ever walked there. 

 In 1761, only the wealthiest of nations or trading companies could afford the first accurate longitude sensors. By 1825, the needs of exploration and industrial production drove down the price until every ship in the Royal Navy was outfitted with multiple marine chronometers, allowing an age of discovery formerly undreamed of. Today, ocean scientists face similarly extreme costs to obtain the latest and most accurate imaging, mapping, data collection, or processing instruments. Just as mainframes gave way to personal computers that then accelerated into the mobile revolution empowering individual users, the next age of ocean discovery needs to re-think, re-invent, and re-deploy robust networks of low-cost sensors, connected platforms, and agile methodologies—not for kings and merchant princes, but for every citizen of planet Earth. 

 Join us for an inspiring discussion as we explore topics such as novel sensors, big data/AI, learning/education, machine learning opportunities, and immersive storytelling experiences that will bring new ocean discoveries to those who live far from any shore. 

 YOU can play a part in this new age of ocean discovery.

Innovation in Regulated Industries

Catherine Havasi  |  E14-493

This is a "birds of a feather" session for members and students interested in talking about innovation in regulated industries. Get to know each other, exchange ideas and war stories, and talk about lab projects that might be of interest. 

QTY designed Heat Resistant Soluble GPCR with Tunable Ligand Affinity and its Bioelectronic Application

Rui Qing  |  E14-240

QTY code (glutamine, threonine, and tyrosine) is a simple tool for making water-insoluble domains become water-soluble without detergents. Despite substantial transmembrane domain changes, the detergent-free QTY transmembrane proteins maintain stable structures and ligand-binding activities. Chemokine receptors are one type of 7-TM protein members of G protein-coupled receptors that are critical in human health and diseases. QTY-designed, detergent-free chemokine receptors can be expressed in SF9 insect cells as well as produced using a low cost and simple E.coli system with much higher throughput. As designed, receptors exhibited remarkable heat stability in the presence of arginine additive by retaining ligand binding activity after 100°C treatment. New protein variants can also be designed by using the same alpha-helical segments, but switching the extracellular (EC) loop. The approach helps researchers understand the binding mechanism of QTY variants and natural membrane receptors, as well as enables a novel pathway for design and produces multi-functional, water-soluble membrane receptors, with tunable properties for in vitro and in vivo applications. In combination with interface s-layer proteins, QTY-designed GPCRs serve as good candidates for universal bio-electronic sensing platforms.

Wellbeing in the Car 

Nataliya Kosmyna, Abi Jain, Pattie Maes  |  E15-359

Several projects have explored the use of physiological sensors such as electroencephalography (EEG) or electrooculography (EOG) to measure vigilance of drivers. However, these systems still suffer from limitations such as an absence of a socially acceptable form factor and use of impractical, gel-based electrodes. Moreover, the feedback loop in these works is rarely closed and the information about the vigilance level is not presented back to its user. We present AttentivU, a pair of glasses using both EEG and EOG silver electrodes for real-time monitoring of physiological data. When the wearer’s vigilance level is low, the system provides real-time, subtle, auditory feedback incorporated in the glasses to remind them to remain engaged. We tested the glasses on adults during overnight driving sessions in the simulator. The preliminary results show feasibility of using AttentivU to capture reliable physiological data from both EEG and EOG, as well as social acceptability of the device. 

 We debate the advantages of such a system over current camera-based tracking, as well as other "in-car" scenarios for using this system with different groups of users, including novice and elderly drivers. 

 We further discuss other projects related to in-car scenarios, particularly MoveU. Motion sickness is believed to be caused due to a sensory conflict between data from the visual system and that from the vestibular system. A person can become dizzy or exhibit symptoms of motion sickness such as nausea, imbalance, and disorientation if conflicting sensory inputs are received from the eyes, muscles and joints, and vestibular organs. We have developed a small and lightweight wearable device, MoveU, that stimulates the vestibular system by passing a small amount of electrical current to the mastoid region. The technique is called galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS). GVS is a specific way to elicit vestibular reflexes that has been used for over a century to study the function of the vestibular system. We performed a user study for enhancing virtual reality (VR) experiences and reducing cybersickness in VR. The (N = 20) participants experienced significantly lower cybersickness when using our device and rated experiences with GVS-induced haptic feedback as significantly more immersive than a no-GVS baseline.

Optimizing Plant Growth for High Value Chemical Products

OpenAg  |  E15-341

Plants produce uniquely important and valuable pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, cosmetics, flavor compounds, and nutritional constituents. This rich and diverse chemistry originates from ecological adaptations for self-defense and stress adaptation. OpenAg has made important strides toward tuning and manipulating those chemical responses. By adding specific stresses to the plant’s environment, measuring chemical shifts, and feeding these outputs into machine learning models, we are able to induce the plant to synthesize a maximum of valuable molecules. In fact, our recent publication led The Boston Globe to declare in a headline, “MIT researchers hacked agriculture to create what may be the tastiest basil on earth.” Come and join us to learn more about how OpenAg is using cutting-edge controlled environments, sensors, and machine learning to maximize and diversify specific plant chemical profiles.

Aging and AI

Hae Won Park, Neo Mohsenvand, and Anastasia Ostrowski  |  E14-244

The older adult population is growing fast—the number of people over 65 is projected to double by 2050, and they will represent over 20 percent of all the population. This transition calls for changing our mindset around how we view aging. In this workshop, we will challenge stereotypes around aging—slowdown, out-of-sync, frailty, and a burden to society—and propose older adults as our innovation partners. We will present how the Personal Robots group views the future of aging through our research lens, and invite you to join a new proposal on designing AI to help us age healthier, live independently, and remain socially connected. The highlight of the workshop is a hands-on session for you to communicate your interests and discuss how together, we can innovate how we age.

MIT Media Lab + IDEO CoLab Translation Sprint

Matt Weiss and Ari Adler from IDEO |  E14- 6th floor Lecture Hall

At the end of March, the MIT Media Lab and IDEO CoLab collaborated to run a translation sprint with member companies including Fidelity, Fannie Mae, IBM, NTT Data, and Steelcase. The purpose of this sprint was to apply IDEO’s design and prototyping process to emerging research from the Media Lab in order to understand more about its future implications and use cases. Working with researchers from the Personal Robots group, the Digital Currency Initiative, and the Lifelong Kindergarten group, we built four prototypes over the course of the week that we’ll share for discussion. As we’re considering future collaborations, we’re interested in hearing ideas for future sprints we may run and requests for specific research and use cases we might explore.