Visiting the MIT Media Lab

Just came back from a holiday-related trip that led by Boston. M. and I had a couple of days to poke around the city, and of course we didn’t want to miss the chance to visit the MIT Media Lab.

The lovely Nate Matias and Eric Rosenbaum took the time to show us around the lab and introduce us to a few of the good folks there. (Thanks guys, that was great fun!)

MIT Media Lab
M & I at the MIT Media Lab with Scratch


And boy, what a place. Joi Ito, the new head of the Media Lab, has been working on opening up the lab some more, making it more permeable so to speak, and to lower the (perceived) barrier between what’s happening inside the lab and the outside. I can understand why, too: I imagine it can be a pretty intimidating place. There’s so much cool research going on, most of it very much transdisciplinary and experimental in nature, and always on the cutting edge of things. (“Things” here meaning whatever the researchers in the lab have decided to focus on.) What I personally like a lot is the mix of research, playfulness and the way researchers are encouraged to productize the things they come up with.

To give you an impression, within the hour or so we got to poke around the lab, we encountered projects ranging from (kinda) 3D projection to emotional robots to a huge woodcut Stegosaurus to a magnetically suspensed ball that could record and play back movements – just to name a few of the ones I remember off the top of my head. And of course the Makey Makey of Eric’s own making.

Makey Makey
Unpacking the Makey Makey. Plans to attach it to the cat were vetoed by the recipient.


Anyway, we enjoyed it a great deal. Should you be around and get a chance, make sure to check if there’s an event going on at the Lab. It’s certainly worth your time and a good opportunity to meet some great folks.

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