If today we program
computers and machines,
tomorrow we will
program matter itself.

If today we program
computers and machines,
tomorrow we will
program matter itself.

A conference
organized by

the Self-Assembly Lab,
MIT

in collaboration with
the Center for Art Science &
Technology(CAST), MIT

the Department of
Architecture, MIT

the International Design
Center(IDC), MIT

Autodesk Inc.

Steelcase Inc.

4/24–25

A conference
organized by

the Self-Assembly Lab,
MIT

in collaboration with

the Center for Art Science &
Technology(CAST), MIT

the Department of
Architecture, MIT

the International Design
Center(IDC), MIT

Autodesk Inc.

Steelcase Inc.

4/24–25

If today we program
computers and machines,
tomorrow we will
program matter itself.

In recent decades, developments in software and hardware technologies have created dramatic shifts in design, manufacturing and research. Software technologies have facilitated automated process and new solutions for complex problems. Computation has also become a platform for creativity through generative art and design. New hardware platforms and digital fabrication technologies have similarly transformed manufacturing, offering more efficient production and mass customization. Such advances have helped catalyzed the maker-movement, democratizing design and maker culture. This influx of new capabilities to design, compute and fabricate like never before, has sparked a renewed interest in material performance.

We are now witnessing significant advances in active matter, 3D/4D Printing, materials science, synthetic biology, DNA nanotechnology and soft robotics, which have led to the convergence of software, hardware and material technologies and the growing field of programmable materials.

This conference is about the emerging field of active matter and programmable materials that bridges the worlds of art, science, engineering and design, demonstrating new perspectives for computation, transformation and dynamic material applications.

If over the past few decades we have experienced a software revolution, and more recently, a hardware revolution, this conference aims to discuss the premises, challenges and innovations brought by today’s materials revolution. We can now sense, compute, and actuate with materials alone, just as we could with software and hardware platforms previously. How does this shift influence materials research, and how does it shape the future of design, arts, and industrial applications? What tools and design processes do we need to advance, augment and invent new materials today? What are the key roles that industry, government, academic and public institutions can play in catalyzing the field of programmable materials?

This two-day conference will consist of a range of talks and lively discussion from leading researchers in materials science, art & design, synthetic biology and soft-robotics along with leaders from government, public institutions and industry.

Conference Chairs

Skylar Tibbits &
Athina Papadopoulou
— Self-Assembly Lab, MIT

Conference Committee

Leila Kinney, Meg Rotzel &
Katherine Higgins
— Center for Art, Science & Technology, MIT (CAST)

Irina Chernyakova
— Department of Architecture, MIT

Tom Wujec &
Gordon Kurtenbach
— Autodesk Inc.

Ed Vander Bilt &
Paul Noll
— Steelcase Inc.


The Active Matter Summit is funded in part by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) through the generosity of Ronald A. Kurtz '54, in recognition of the exemplary career of Merton C. Flemings, Toyota Professor Emeritus and founding director of the Materials Processing Center at MIT.

Self Assembly Lab
Arts center for art, science and technology at MIT
MIT Architecture
SUTD-MIT International design centre
The Center for Bit and Atoms
Autodesk Inc.
Steelcase inc.

BARTOS
THEATER
E15-070
MIT

line
media lab

20 Ames Street MIT Building E15
Atrium level, Cambridge,
Massachusetts 02139

MAP

Friday April 24th —
Saturday April 25th
2015

BARTOS THEATER
E15-070, MIT

linemedia lab

20 Ames Street MIT Building E15
Atrium level, Cambridge,
Massachusetts 02139

MAP

Friday April 24th —
Saturday April 25th
2015


SPEAKERS

Achim Menges
University of Stuttgart

Alfredo Alexander-Katz
MIT

Arthur Olson
The Scripps Research Institute

Athina Papadopoulou
MIT, Organiser

Chris Lasch
Aranda/Lasch

Christophe Cros
Airbus

Christophe Guberan
Product Designer

John Romanishin /
Daniela Rus
MIT

David Benjamin
The Living

Erik Demaine
MIT

Fiorenzo Omenetto
Tufts University

Heinrich Jaeger
University of Chicago

Jennifer Lewis
Harvard University

Jenny Sabin
Cornell University

John Main
DARPA

Junus Khan
Carbitex

Jessica Rosenkrantz &
Jesse Louis-Rosenberg
Nervous System

Leila Kinney
MIT, Organiser

Lodovica Illari
MIT

Marcelo Coelho
Marcelo Coelho Studio

Markus Buehler
MIT

Merton C. Flemings
MIT

Neil Gershenfeld
MIT

Neri Oxman
MIT

Paola Antonelli
MoMA

Paul Kassabian
SGH & MIT

Paul McEuen
Cornell University

Pedro Reis
MIT

Peko Hosoi
MIT

Peng Yin
Harvard University

Philip S. Khoury
MIT

Rob MacCurdy /
Hod Lipson
Cornell University

Rob Wood
Harvard University

Simon Kim &
Mariana Ibanez
University of Pennsylvania &
Harvard University

Sheila Kennedy
MIT

Skylar Tibbits
MIT, Organiser

Suzanne Lee
BioCouture

Tal Danino
MIT

Toms Saraceno
Artist

Ying Liu /
Michael Dickey
NC State University


AGENDA

FRIDAY, APRIL 24 


Registration & Breakfast

8:30 AM

Introduction

9:00 AM
SESSION 1: MATERIAL
MAKING
SESSION 1: MATERIAL MAKING

Neil Gershenfeld, MIT

Digital Fabrication & Digital Materials

Peko Hosoi, MIT

Active Soft Materials

Jennifer Lewis, Harvard University

Printing Functional and Active Matter

Rob Wood, Harvard University

Microrobotics

Markus Buehler, MIT

Materials by Design

Neri Oxman, MIT

Material Ecology
9:30 AM

Q&A / Panel Discussion

11:00 AM

Break

11:30 AM
SESSION 2: BIO-MATERIALS

Peng Yin, Harvard University

Programming DNA

Fiorenzo Omenetto, Tufts University

Silk Polymorphism

Tal Danino, MIT

Programming Bacteria

David Benjamin, The Living

The Living

Suzanne Lee, BioCouture

BioCouture

Paola Antonelli, MoMA

Design & Biology
1:00 PM

Q&A / Panel Discussion

2:30 PM

Coffee Break

3:00 PM
SESSION 3: MATERIAL
TRANSFORMATIONS
SESSION 3: MATERIAL TRANSFORMATIONS

Paul McEuen, Cornell University

Graphene Transformations

Pedro Reis, MIT

Programmable Soft Surfaces

Ying Liu / Michael Dickey, NC State University

Soft Material Transformations

Junus Khan, Carbitex

Tunable Carbon Fiber

Christophe Cros, Airbus

Airbus & Programmable Carbon

Christophe Guberan, Product Designer

Active Products
3:15 PM

Q&A / Panel Discussion

4:45 PM

Merton C. Flemings, MIT

in discussion with
Philip S. Khoury, MIT

5:15 PM

Q&A / Closing Comments

5:40 PM

SATURDAY, APRIL 25 


Registration & Breakfast

8:45 AM

Introduction

9:15 AM
SESSION 4: ACTIVE
ASSEMBLIES
SESSION 4: ACTIVE ASSEMBLIES

Skylar Tibbits, MIT

Macro-Scale Self-Assembly

Arthur Olson, The Scripps Research Institute

Biomolecular Self-Assembly

John Main, DARPA

Scalable Directed Assembly

Heinrich Jaeger, University of Chicago

Granular Jammable Materials

Alfredo Alexander-Katz, MIT

Self-Assembly & Soft Materials

Lodovica Illari, MIT

Weather in a Rotating Tank
9:30 AM

Q&A / Panel Discussion

11:00 AM

Break

11:30 AM
SESSION 5: MATERIAL
ROBOTICS
SESSION 5: MATERIAL ROBOTICS

John Romanishin / Daniela Rus, MIT

Printable Robotics

Rob MacCurdy / Hod Lipson, Cornell University

Cellular Robotics

Erik Demaine, MIT

Computational Origami

Simon Kim & Mariana Ibanez,
University of Pennsylvania & Harvard University

The Immersive

Paul Kassabian, SGH & MIT

Robotic Assembly

Marcelo Coelho, Marcelo Coelho Studio

Computational Matter
1:00 PM

Q&A / Panel Discussion

2:30 PM

Coffee Break

3:00 PM
SESSION 6: ACTIVE
ARCHITECTURES
SESSION 6: ACTIVE ARCHITECTURES

Achim Menges, University of Stuttgart

Material Computation

Chris Lasch, Aranda/Lasch

Architecture, Materials & Structure

Jenny Sabin, Cornell University

Architecture & Biology

Jessica Rosenkrantz &
Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, Nervous System

Nervous System

Sheila Kennedy, MIT

Matter of Time

Tomás Saraceno, Artist

Material Environments
3:15 PM

Q&A / Panel Discussion

4:45 PM

Closing Comments

5:15 PM