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JH on video synth graphic
Photo by Georgia Andersen
John Harrison is musician, electrical/computer engineer, educator and new media artist. Currently he serves as Concertmaster of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra (WSO). John is also the inventor and sole proprietor of Filimin, interactive lights that connect you with those you love. He also co-founded and is the technical lead for Snappy Kids --- clinical mobile apps which help kids learn about and manage their feelings.

John's invention Filimin has been a huge commercial success. These decorative touch lights that connect family members and loved ones have been featured on major online media, including Buzzfeed three times, Mashable twice, The Today Show, The Washington Post, and Business Insider. Buzzfeed's video about Filimin went viral, receiving nearly 5 million views.

John's intention with Filimin is that it might add beauty to the world, not just as a product but in how they are made. To that end, John chose to manufacture Filimin with his own team of employees in Wichita Kansas. John also teamed up with the Women's Initative Network (WIN) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). WIN is a non-profit that helps women in transition from abusive situations to independence and the workforce. John made the first Filimins alongside WIN participants. He now subcontracts WIN for Filimin subassembly. John also hires refugees from the IRC, who integrate with the other employees and the community in general. Both of these iniatives represents John's strong belief that satisfaction, innovation and personal growth are best facilitated by diverse points of view.

Before his work creating and running Filimin, John worked as an Electrical and Computer Design Engineer at PWI Inc, a small engineering design firm specializing in electrical solutions for aircraft manufacturers. PWI is most well-known for their work designing and implementing the lighting systems for Air Force One.

John also has a deep commitment to teaching. Previously, John was a full-time faculty member at Wichita State University's (WSU) College of Engineering. He also served as Founder and Director of WSU's Center for Research in Arts, Technology, Education, and Learning (CRATEL). Before this he was a tenured Associate Professor of Violin at Wichita State University's School of Music.

Inspired in part by Professor Gerhard Fischer's publications about renaissance communities, John was a founder of Wichita's new media artist collective Hack.Art.Lab (H.A.L). As part of H.A.L, John created and installed new media art in such places as Wichita, Kansas City, Richmond VA, Weimar Germany and Sao Paulo Brazil. Recent installations include Touch #1 and Touch #2, both inspired by the playfulness he witnessed in seeing the joy low-functioning autistic children found in immersive environments. John was also a co-founder and former Vice President of MakeICT, Wichita's first Makerspace. MakeICT now has over 400 active members.

Much of John's work is largely informed by his studies at MIT's Media Lab, where he was a graduate assistant researcher under Barry Vercoe (Music Mind and Machine), Tod Machover (Opera of the Future), and Mitchell Resnick (Lifelong Kindergarten). Working with these three professors concurrently gave John a unique perspective on learning, innovation, music and creativity. John volunteered at Professor Resnick's flagship Computer Clubhouse in Boston, co-creating projects such as Digital Puppetry. John's Master's thesis pioneered new ideas and implementation in tangible learning and creativity through music and sound.

John also continues his activities as a violinist. He has recorded for Koch International Classics and New World Records and has been broadcast internationally on Public Radio International. As First Violinist of the Montclaire String Quartet, his touring and performance schedule included internationally televised and recorded concerts. He has also performed as First Violin of the Amernet String Quartet, first-prize winners of the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

As a violin soloist, John has performed with orchestras in major cities internationally. His former leadership positions include Concertmaster of The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and The Vermont Symphony Orchestra. He was also a regular substitute member of The Boston Symphony Orchestra and The Boston Pops Orchestra. His recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons has been featured as one of the best sounds available on the English Wikipedia.

John is also an active teacher of technology, having led classes in programming and electronic audio and video at various middle schools, high schools and colleges throughout the region. He pursued his undergraduate degrees at Eastman School of Music and Cleveland Institute of Music (BM: Violin Performance), as well as Case Western Reserve University and University of Rochester (BS: Computer Science). He holds a Master's Degree in Media Technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he pursued graduate research at the MIT Media Lab.