Siftables and More with David Merrill

April 27, 2009 by complextalk 

May 11, 2009
6:00 pmto8:00 pm

David Merrill, a fourth-year Ph.D. student at MIT, modestly says his research interests revolve around expanding human capabilities with technological tools that take advantage of our existing skills. In practice, that becomes Siftables, an evolutionary and revolutionary expansion of the building blocks we all used as toddlers to learn how to build relations and structures among objects.

davidmerrill.jpgDavid will be in Santa Fe at the invitation of Project GUTS to discuss Siftables in education. (Project GUTS, or Growing Up thinking Scientifically, is a science education program for midschoolers that meets at the Complex during the school year.) As he writes on his web page that Siftables is a distributed gestural user interface that couples interaction affordances of tangible interfaces (TUIs) with some functional capabilities of a sensor network. Siftables aims to empower people to interact with information and media in physical, natural ways that approximate interactions with physical objects in our everyday lives. His February 2009 TED talk shows his inventions in action:

Santa Fe Complex is please to announce David will join us on Monday, May 11 at 6:00pm to discuss his work with the Siftables and his general interest in amplifying our ability to access relevant information in the wild, when we are away from our desktop and laptop computers. This interest leads Davids to explore connecting information to a physical object so that it can provide information to a human examining the object. This technology would act like a tape recording in a museum that explains the exhibit as the visitor walks through the galleries except it would be an interactive communication driven by the users actions rather than requiring a person to stand at a predetermined location to listen to a prerecorded narrative. This YouTube video explains his concept.

David isnt content to stop there. He also wants to develop musical instruments that learn from the player as part of his interest in creating responsive environments. Hell explore his many interests at the Complex on May 4.

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