September 2014 Director’s Fellows updates

By erouse, 4 years ago


Here’s what’s new in the world of the MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellows this month!

Jeff Sturges is currently working on a project called the Hyper Interactive Hip Hop Carnival for an event called Dlectricity, taking place in Detorit 9/26-9/27. More info coming soon!

Maurice Ashley is hosting the Millionaire Chess Open, chess tournament in Las Vegas, 10/9-13. The event has been featured in various media including the New York Times. Read more about it here. Maurice has been working closely with Playful Systems — Greg Borenstein’s work focuses on designing real-time systems that chess commentators can draw upon to tell new stories about games and players.

Philipp Schmidt worked with Srishti Sethi of the Life Long Kindergarten group to put together a “virtual visit to the Media Lab” for people who can’t come in person, using the unhangout platform that they developed over the last year. 90 people joined them live for an opportunity to speak with nine Media Lab researchers about their work. Conversations took place in small break-out groups. Based on the success of the event, they plan to offer future opportunities to visit the lab, and would love to include some of the fellows in future conversations.

Baratunde Thurston‘s TEDx talk, “Hacking Comedy” is online. Watch it here. Baratunde says: “In 18 minutes, I make a pretty good case for humanizing our technology with art and humor and a devastatingly air-tight case for consuming more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”

Baratunde’s company, Cultivated Wit, is launching a campaign to recruit STEM teachers. Baratunde says: “Our efforts include an animated music video, absurdly funny career placement test, and oh so many GIFs. This work is being done in partnership with a consortium of over 150 partners, all responding to President Obama’s call for 100,000 new STEM teachers. If you click through before noon ET Sept 16, join our Thunderclap to help spread the word at launch time. If after, just play around on the site and share with educators, STEM majors/recent grads, and professionals who work in STEM fields.” More at

Christopher Bevans is working on the wireless charging device for cell phones with Valentin. Prototypes will be available to demo soon.

Quentin Mitchell spent the weekend on a rally through Kenya to raise funds for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. You can see photos and a play by play here.

Juliana Rotich, David Kobia, and the Ushahidi team are ramping up to launch Gearbox, a hub for developers in Kenya to learn hardware and build things. They just hired a new is ramping up, we just hired our new Exec Director and will have pics soon. Executive Director and will have photos soon.