Alert
Close

Top the Trizzle leaderboard by 5 p.m. Friday to win a $100 gift card! Learn more

Bits & Bytes
Poll

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Your Super Future

Go inside the MIT Media Lab, where the future takes shape

Imagine a science fair with the budget of a Steven Spielberg movie, and you’ll have a good idea of what a visit to the MIT Media Lab is like. In October, the Media Lab — a department within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture and Planning — will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Since its founding, in 1985, the Lab has lived up to its mission as a “place where the future is lived, not imagined,” translating complex and emerging technologies into everyday consumer use.
 
Next time you call up a book on your Amazon Kindle, thank the folks at the Media Lab, where the electronic ink used in the e-readers was developed. You’re safer in your car thanks to another Media Lab project, the SeatSentry Smart Air Bag system, which senses the position of a passenger so that the vehicle’s air bag can deploy more effectively. Watching video on the web? There’s a good chance it’s in an MPEG-4 format, for which Media Lab researchers developed groundbreaking sound transmission technologies. Your kids or grandkids are likely benefitting from Media Lab research, too: Hugely popular interactive games such as Guitar Hero and LEGO Mindstorms construction kits were born there.
 
As for Spielberg, the director owes the Media Lab a debt of gratitude, too. Remember the scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise’s character researches a criminal case, manipulating computer files and images on a giant screen in front of him by simply gesturing into thin air? Spielberg based the scene on technology he had seen in development during a pre-shooting tour of the Media Lab — and the technology (called g-speak) is now being developed by Oblong Industries, one of more than 80 companies that have been spun off from Media Lab projects.
 
AARP is one of more than 60 sponsors of the MIT Media Lab.Back to Article

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Technology
Resources

Social Networking

Step-by-step instructions on how to use some of the Web's most popular networking sites. Go

 

How to Use Your PC

Guides covering everything from setting up your desktop, to getting the most out of Excel. Go

 

Protect Your Digital Life

Keep your computer secure, your web surfing safe, and your inbox spam free with these tips. Go

Discounts & Benefits

Geek Squad Computing

Members save on Geek Squad services with Geek Squad® Tech Support & Guidance for AARP® Members.

AARP Discounts on ADT Companion Services

Members get 20% off NEW installation and activation of ADT® Personal Emergency Response System.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today

Being Social

Featured
Groups

computer questions and tips

Computer Questions & Tips

Pick up some handy how-tos from this savvy group of techies. Discuss

 

Freebies Group

Favorite Websites & Freebies

Share your top sites for interesting information, helpful resources — and free stuff! Discuss