Posted February 13, 2009
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Ted Talks

David Merrill: Siftables, the toy blocks that think




MIT grad student David Merrill demos Siftables -- cookie-sized, computerized tiles you can stack and shuffle in your hands. These future-toys can do math, play music, and talk to their friends, too. Is this the next thing in hands-on learning?

David Merrill works on Siftables, tiny computer blocks that interact with each other to make networks (and music).

David Merrill is a grad student in the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT's Media Lab. He and his fellow students in this group work on new technologies that give us more and better abilities to do things we want to do. His main interest now is the Siftables project, the subject of his TEDTalk, on which he works with Jeevan Kalanithi. In another field of inquiry, Merrill is looking at ways to access digital information in the wider world, when we are away from a traditional computer.

A musician himself, Merril also has a deep interest in new musical interfaces. His Adaptive Music Controller is an instrument that learns its player (rather than the player learning the instrument). And working musicians should check out his AudioPint, a portable case that consolidates instruments, effects and audio processors into a gig-safe rugged housing.

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