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post Sponsor week at the MIT Media Lab

April 2nd, 2008

Filed under: CHAMELEON PROJECT,interesting research — Tina @ 3:34 am

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As part of the Synapse Residency, I am back at Cambridge this week – at the MIT Medialab – we timed it so I was here for sponsorweek. Sponsor week is a major twice a year event where the Media Lab sponsors have the chance to visit the lab and learn about the latest research. The Lab’s primary source of funding comes from more than 60 corporate sponsors whose businesses range from electronics to entertainment, furniture to finance, and toys to telecommunications.

Its a relationship that works for MIT, but I can imagine if you were working here it may be hard to get your head around. The sponsors get access to all the IP/research. As MIT sees it – the research may be considered too costly or too “far out” to be accommodated within a corporate environment. It is also an opportunity for corporations to bring their business challenges and concerns to the Lab to see the solutions our researchers present. When I talked to Rana about it, she mentioned she liked o see her work filter out commercially – so it becomes part of peoples everyday. Its also given her a lot of great opportunities to work with some amazing minds.

A few weeks ago, at my artist talk at the Banff New Media Institute Liminal Screen residency, I talked about the fact that I was working with MIT. A few of the artists at my talk had a few issues with it. A basic distrust. A sense of what you are creating could be taken out of your hands and implemented in ways that you may not have envisioned. I would like to spend more time talking to some of the artists here and what they think of it.

So all the representatives of major companies are here. BT, Microsoft, Intel, Nokia, Toyota, Motorola, Maya. I see many many badges walking about with names of big companies on them – all the software companies, etc.. Mostly all men. Mostly all have their heads buried into laptops.

At the moment I am watching a technological magic show by Seth Raphael – an alumni of Ros Picards affective computing group. This is followed up by a talk from James Randi, known as the The Amazing Randi – a magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. He writes about the paranormal, skepticism, and the history of magic. In the afternoon there will be tours of the lab and also talks about different projects.

Originally I was going to present some of the work of the Chameleon Project.

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