Welcome to my Web Page

Hello, my name is Benjamin Resner, and I finished my master's degree at the MIT Media Lab in August 2001. I was a member of the Synthetic Characters group led by Dr. Bruce Blumberg and a founding member of the Pet Projects group led by Dr. Irene Pepperberg and Dr. Bruce Blumberg.

My thesis research at the lab focused on applying technology towards improving the lives of homebound pets.  Many people consider pets to be legitimate members of their family, yet there is no academic work aimed specifically at improving their lives.  Contrary to what you may have heard, we were  not training birds to use the Internet, and have no plans to offer free email for dogs.  We are simply building devices and interfaces that allow these intelligent creatures to communicate with their owners when separated by distance.  This effort culminated in my thesis, titled "Rover@Home:  Computer Mediated Remote Interaction Between Dogs and Humans."  Please see my research page for more info.

I also researched ambient forms of social interaction, which has led me to my current professional interest, the creation of a company called Ambient Devices

I started life in the lab as a member of the Synthetic Characters team where we study animal behavior as a model for constructing ethologically inspired machine learning systems that are robust and adaptable.  In the process of our research, we began collaborating with visiting professor Dr. Irene Pepperberg.  Out of this collaboration grew my interest in working directly with the animals.

Before coming to the lab, I was a professional computer programmer in the San Francisco Bay Area for six years.  I worked at Berkeley Systems (the flying toaster people) and at PF. Magic where I was technical lead and a creator of the Petz product line.

I try to lead a balanced life, which sometimes means leaving early on Sunday afternoon.  I've been in Boston for two years now, and the city keeps growing on me.  It's easy to get around without a car, and its proximity to the nonstop excitement of Le Pomme Grande (Manhattan) and the scenic outdoors of New Hampshire and Vermont makes it a great place to live.  

Boston, MA
October  2001

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