David Merrill

I finished my Ph.D. in the Fluid Interfaces group at the MIT Media Lab and am now co-founder of Sifteo, based in San Francisco CA. My research interests revolve around expanding human capabilities with technological tools that take advantage of our existing skills.

My primary researh project was Siftables. Siftables is a distributed gestural user interface that couples interaction affordances of tangible interfaces (TUIs) with some functional capabilities of a sensor network. Siftables aims to empower people to interact with information and media in physical, natural ways that approximate interactions with physical objects in our everyday lives.

I am also interested in amplifying our ability to access relevant information in the wild, when we are away from our desktop and laptop computers. For a long time we could blame the large size of computers for our difficulty in seamlessly integrating them into our daily existence. Now that computational power comes in such tiny packages, I believe it is just our design understanding that must catch up in order for our computers to facilitate amazingly great, useful, and sociable interactions. See my Invisible Media page for one of my research projects in this area.

A final area where my enthusiasm runs deep is in the creation of new musical instruments and experiences. We have only scratched the surface of understanding how technology will change the human ability to create, understand, and appreciate music. For my masters thesis with Joe Paradiso in the Responsive Environments group I created an adaptive musical instrument - instead of you learning the instrument (as is usually the case), this instrument learns you! More recently, I have been collaborating with a group of artistic technologists to build the future platform for musical interactivity.

David Merrill