25 Years of the MIT Media Lab

Innovation and imagination remain on display and in process in the lab's halls

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The MIT Media Lab turns 25 today. We take a look back at the novel idea behind this multidisciplinary academic lab that harnessed (and continues to harness) the creative energy of the digital revolution to develop major innovations in art and design, IT and mass communications. The display behind e-book readers such as the Kindle and Nook, the innovation behind the wildly popular "Guitar Hero" video games, and the "One Laptop Per Child" initiative all came from the Media Lab.

The lab's founder, Nicholas Negroponte, says that when they founded the program 25 years ago, the idea of an interdisciplinary lab was completely radical in the world of academia.


Nicholas Negroponte

Produced by:

John Hockenberry

Comments [4]

David from Los Angeles

Here are some pics from the lab's 5th anniversary book - 20 years ago. Its charter then, remains true today: "to invent and creatively exploit new media for human well-being and individual satisfaction without regard for present-day constraints."

Oct. 16 2010 12:14 PM

The extra dimension of irony: By the 1970s McLuhan was widely dismissed as crazy or nonsensical even though today's "media experts" seem to be recycling his ideas as their own.

Oct. 15 2010 07:53 AM

John -

How ironic that the notion that the media are our "electronic nervous system" is considered so innovative.

In the early 1960s, Marshall McLuhan was writing about how electronic media are "extensions of our nervous system."

One excerpt: "With the arrival of electric technology, man extended, or set outside himself, a live model of the central nervous system itself. To the degree that this is so, it is a development that suggests a desperate and suicidal autoamputation, as if the central nervous system could no longer depend on the physical organs to be protective buffers against... [a] too violent and superstimulated... social experience for the central nervous system to endure."

from "The Gadget Lover: Narcissus as Narcosis" (1964)

Oct. 15 2010 07:49 AM
melinda wax from Brooklyn

John, I am thrilled about this event and hope that more information about the LAB becomes public. It is a great example for all design schools and I look forward to hearing about the
anniversary events and sharing them with my students! Especially if they are from YOU!

Oct. 14 2010 08:09 AM

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