Thursday, October 14, 2010

MIT Media Lab: Robots, and the best Lego set ever

One thing I've wanted to do since arriving at MIT at the beginning of the summer is to see the MIT Media Lab. I mean, I'm a media guy interested in geeky technologies, so it should be one of the first stops, right?

Well, I never got around to going into the Media Lab building, until today. I heard from two non-Sloan friends of mine -- a current PhD candidate studying new ways to do gaming AIs, and a staff member who helped make the world's first robot opera -- that there was a Media Lab open house, in which most of the current projects (and a few past ones, too) would be on display with researchers on hand to explain them.

Firehose time. I spent a few hours visiting the offices and labs, drinking in projects that ranged from anthropomorphic robots (such as Lexi, inset) to a kids-oriented programming language to "tangible media.

Unfortunately, there was no way to see it all. But I was able to shoot a few highlights and conduct some interviews using my iPod touch. There are three videos:

MIT Media Lab Open House Video #1: Scratch + Legos = Cool (interview with researcher Sayamindu Dasgupta from 00:00 to 08:00, for the final two minutes I spend a few minutes looking at other Media Lab projects)

MIT Media Lab Open House Video #2: Social robots! (interview with Personal Robots Group researchers, including Kenton Williams, discussing Nexi and human-social interaction) (note: audio is slightly off-sync)

MIT Media Lab Open House Video #3: An army of robots? (I was unable to find the identity of the PhD student on the Media Lab/Personal Robotics Group website, but I am wondering if that's because of the military sponsor?)

Other MIT classroom encounters:

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