Skylar Tibbits is the founder and co-director of the Self-Assembly Lab housed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) International Design Center. The Self-Assembly Lab focuses on self-assembly and programmable material technologies for novel manufacturing, products, and construction processes.
His invention of 4D printing has established a unique area of design research focused on programmable materials that can sense and actuate in response to internal or external stimuli. His work on self-assembly has demonstrated the scalability of this natural construction phenomenon with synthetic design and fabrication systems. The research is the first to apply the principles of self-assembly to construction and manufacturing: for example, a cell phone that can build itself, a chair that self-assembles, and the self-construction of aerial balloons.
Skylar is an assistant professor of Design Research in the Department of Architecture at MIT where he teaches graduate and undergraduate design studios and co-teaches “How to Make (Almost) Anything,” a seminar at MIT's Media Lab with Neil Gershenfeld. Skylar is also the Editor-In-Chief of the 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Journal and the founder of SJET LLC, a small multi-disciplinary design practice.
Skylar has a Professional Degree in Architecture and minor in experimental computation from Philadelphia University. Continuing his education at MIT, he received a masters of science in Design Computation and a masters of science in Computer Science under the guidance of Patrick Winston, Terry Knight, Erik Demaine, and Neil Gershenfeld.Back
Using recycled cell phones, engineer, physicist, and inventor Topher White has come up with an ingenious method of detecting illegal logging and poaching in remote rain forests. Deforestation is one of the main contributors to climate change and the extinction of endangered species. INTERPOL estimates 50 to 90 percent of rain forest logging is illegal. In 2012, White founded Rainforest Connection, which, according to the organization’s website, works to “transform recycled cell phones into autonomous, solar-powered listening devices that can monitor and pinpoint chainsaw activity at great distance, providing the world’s first audio-based logging detection system, pinpointing deforestation activity as it occurs and enabling real-time intervention.” The organization has helped stop illegal logging and poaching operations in Sumatra and is expanding its activities to rain forest reserves in Africa and Brazil. White, who has a B.A. in physics from Kenyon College, is currently working in Brazil, helping the indigenous Tembe people in the northern Amazonian state of Para monitor their lands to prevent poaching and illegal logging and settlement. White is a 2015 National Geographic Emerging Explorer.Back
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