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Brown, MIT, And RISD Are Implanting Art Into Their Transhumanist Experiments

Gathering art, education, and technology with STEAM.

A group of Brown, MIT, and RISD kids are after our tech-and-art obsessed hearts, injecting "art" into their STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math) Program, and turning it into STEAM.

Fourteen lucky students are currently participating in the series, HUMAN+COMPUTER, a four-week transhumanist experimentation workshop at MIT's prestigious Media Lab. Applying the storied definition of transhumanism as “the belief that the human race can evolve beyond its current limitations through the use of science and technology,” students began by writing science fiction vignettes that reimagined our transhumanist future.

Then, they began developing their own devices:

Final products included the “Thinking Cap,” an electrode hat attached to a silicone brain embedded with LED lights. The brain’s lights flashed in correlation with the wearer's brain activity. 

Image courtesy of Alex Ju

Inspired by a Japanese fable, Alex Ju and Kate O'Connor made butterfly jewelry that flaps its wings when activated by an electrical current. 

Testing the modules (Bevin) from Celine Chappert on Vimeo.

Bevin Kelley and Celine Chappert built a mirrored, movement-sensitive LED panel, sort of like a light-up keyboard theremin. 

The works were among those on display at RISD’s Exposé gallery last week. As the project progresses, the STEAM team have already been spotted field-tripping for experimental art and gathering momentum for expansion. We've got high hopes for this one.

In addition, if you think you have the next idea in transhumanism (specifically tied to wearable technology), then look into Intel's Make It Wearable challenge. The VISIONARY track will grant finalists $5,000 in seed funding to help get them started. For more information, see our video on the challenge, and visit the Make It Wearable site for more.

Images courtesy of STEAM, h/t Scientific American