MIT lab looks to build on history of innovation

Fri Mar 5, 2010 5:18pm EST
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By Ros Krasny

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - The research laboratory that brought the world wearable computers, early social networking platforms and programmable Lego bricks is entering its second quarter-century in a shiny new showcase.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab has moved into its new home -- a six-story, 163,000-square foot glass building designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki.

"This really delivered on the vision of a unique way of doing research," said Frank Moss, director of the media lab. "Buildings are important, and this building is a tremendous asset."

The lab is a department within MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, and is devoted to research projects at the confluence of technology and multi-media.

The new building houses seven units that face one another across a central atrium in a staggered configuration to promote maximum openness and collaboration between groups.

Researchers are drawn from a range of disciplines, from engineers, physicians and computer scientists to artists and musicians.

Research groups carry tags ranging from Lifelong Kindergarten to Camera Culture to New Media Medicine.

In the medicine area, electrical engineering PhD student Grant Elliott, 25, demonstrated new prosthetic prototypes, such as the "active ankle foot orthotic" that model the efficiency of human locomotion in ways never seen before.   Continued...

<p>Peter Schmitt, a PhD student at the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shows the powered wheels he designed for a prototype of the City Car, a collapsible, electric, battery powered car he helped create at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts November 13, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>