Simplexity in Knotty Objects: MIT Media Lab’s First Design Summit

EyeWire, Knotty Objects, knottyobjects, MIT, MIT Media Lab, Media Lab, science design, science, neuroscience
EyeWire at Knotty Objects. From left: CC, Montakan, Alex, Chris, Nicole, Amy


How does a thought exist? If you imagine something, is it real, in any description? How will humanity’s global metabolism of goods and services inspire next generation design, refactoring the economy from the supply chain all the way to finished products? Will localized manufacturing reconnect us with the act of working with our hands? In the future, will we engineer traits, resulting in, for example, Malaria-carrying mosquitos no longer wanting to bite humans? What will happen when we can print with light, feel sound, and enhance our senses?

MIT Media Lab’s first design summit, Knotty Objects, held July 15 and 16 in Boson, raised bizarre, enticing questions. The event gathered an interdisciplinary group of leaders in fields from design and manufacturing to publishing and genetics. Makers, scholars and creators convened to reimagine the future of design.

Knotty objects “celebrate the chimeric nature of design,” says Paola Antonelli, Curator and Director of R&D at MoMA. The day centered around panels loosely themed with four metaphors of objects – brick, bitcoin, steak, and phone. The objects  “become lenses through which we examine the transdisciplinary nature of contemporary design.”

Novel statements such as metabolic rift, crapject (3D printed junk), simplexity, cognitive architecture, and computational law echoed from speaker’s mouths to astounded audience members’ minds throughout the day. A few days later I still don’t know how to process the entire event..but maybe that’s the point. Maybe great design starts with catapulting yourself into unknown territory.

At EyeWire, we embrace design thinking. This often entails stepping beyond neuroscience for inspiration. We’ve been steadily working behind the scenes to catalyze a new future of brain visualization. Our virtual reality exhibit at TED was but a taste.. In years to come, design experiences will propel both collaborations among researchers within neuroscience and share the wonder of the brain with people outside the field.

After all, if we don’t first imagine the future, how will we create it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.