Speakers' Biographies
Ms. Rebecca Allen
Director, Nokia Research Center (NRC)
In addition to her duties at NRC Hollywood, Ms. Rebecca Allen is also the director of the NRC’s Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research team. Ms. Allen was the founding chair of UCLA’s Department of Design and Media Arts. (She is on leave from her professorship.) Previously, Rebecca was the design manager for the One Laptop per Child XO laptop, the senior research scientist and director of the Liminal Devices Group at MIT’s Media Lab Europe, a creative director and executive producer at Virgin Interactive Entertainment, a senior researcher at the New York Institute of Technology Computer Graphics Laboratory, and a researcher at MIT’s Architecture Machine Group. She has designed and directed award-winning projects for numerous clients, including CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, Time Warner, Island, Mattel, Philips, Nintendo, Seville World Expo, Apple, and DARPA. Rebecca’s artwork is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and Centre Georges Pompidou. Her awards include an Emmy.
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Dr. Maria Bezaitis
Director, People and Practices Research Lab, Intel Research

Dr. Maria Bezaitis leads a team of social scientists who conduct ethnographic research on people, practices, and the institutions that govern everyday life. The People and Practices Research Lab focuses on driving technology adoption in low-infrastructure communities, time and mobility, everyday monetary practices, and Islamic charitable institutions. Dr. Bezaitis came to Intel with more than 10 years’ experience leading and managing ethnographic research organizations. Maria was a vice president at Sapient Corporation, where she was responsible for the advanced research team that focused on developing research-based offerings for key business units. She began her professional career at E-Lab, a consultancy that pioneered the use of ethnography for product development, brand and business innovation. As a managing partner at E-Lab, Maria oversaw its project practice.

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Ms. Eve Blossom
Founder, Lulan Artisans

Prior to founding Lulan Artisans, Ms. Eve Blossom had 20 years’ experience with early-stage technology firms, international business, and nonprofit and social ventures. Lulan Artisans, which designs, produces, and markets sustainable textiles in partnership with more than 650 weavers, dyers, spinners, and finishers in Southeast Asia, integrates design with systemic social change to create economic stability. Ms. Blossom uses her background in design, product development, production, management, and strategic planning to help achieve social, economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability. Trained as an architect, Eve practiced at Gensler in Los Angeles. She then spent two years in Vietnam restoring French villas for such clients as Price Waterhouse and Chase Manhattan, and training Vietnamese architects in technology. After returning to the U.S., Eve worked with the technology company Gravity, and then founded the Envolved Foundation, an Internet portal for nonprofit organizations.

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Dr. Hartmut Esslinger
Founder and frog Fellow, frog design

Dr. Hartmut Esslinger is an industrial designer and inventor. He serves as the strategic and creative advisor to an international innovation firm that helps its clients create, through a multidisciplinary process, and bring to market meaningful products, services, and experiences. Dr. Esslinger has designed such products as the Sony Trinitron television and the snow-white chassis for the Apple Macintosh SE. Hartmut's clients include Acer, Acura/Honda, AT&T, CitiCorp, Discovery Channel, Disney, IBM, Kaltenbach & Voigt, Karstadt, Kodak, Louis Vuitton, Motorola, NEC, Packard Bell, Rosenthal, Siemens, Sun Microsystems, Swatch, Virgin Records, Yamaha, and Zeiss. He is a founding professor of the Hochschule für Gestaltung, in Karlsruhe, Germany; has an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts from the Parson School of Design; and is an honorary member of the Design Academy of Mexico. Hartmut received the Raymond Loewy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992. His work has been incorporated into the design collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institute, and Die Neue Sammlung in Munich.

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Mr. Frank Gehry
Architect, Gehry Partners
Mr. Frank Gehry has lent his imaginative designs to buildings and to a number of products, including the Wyborovka Vodka bottle, a wristwatch for Fossil, jewelry for Tiffany & Co., and the World Cup of Hockey trophy. Mr. Gehry designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; the Barclays Center sports arena in Brooklyn, New York; a concert hall for the New World Symphony, in Miami Beach; a branch of the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi; and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Frank’s first brush with national attention occurred when some furniture he built from industrial corrugated cardboard suddenly became popular. He spent time in Paris working for the architect Andre Remondet. Frank also worked for the Los Angeles architectural firm of Victor Gruen Associates. By the mid 1980s, his work had begun attracting international attention, and he was commissioned to build the Vitra furniture factory in Basel, Switzerland, as well as the Vitra Design Museum in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany. Frank received the 1989 Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious architecture award. In 2010, Vanity Fair polled 52 of the world’s best-known architects and architectural critics, asking them to name the most significant works of architecture of the past 30 years. By an overwhelming margin they placed Frank Gehry’s at the top of the list.
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Dr. Mark Hansen
Professor of Statistics, University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Mark Hansen holds joint appointments in the Design | Media Art and electrical engineering departments at UCLA. Since 2006, Dr. Hansen has served as a co-principal investigator for the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing. Mark’s projects include statistical methods for embedded sensing, participatory urban sensing, nonprofessional practices of data collection and analysis, and text mining and information retrieval. Mark analyzes large, complex data streams, including environmental monitoring and the mechanics of information technologies. He began his career as a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories, where he worked on Web statistics and large databases, and experimented with sound in support of data analysis. Mark has held visiting research positions at Cornell University, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the University of New South Wales.
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Dr. Sangbae Kim
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Sangbae Kim is an expert in multimaterial rapid-prototyping methods for bioinspired robotic systems. Dr. Kim’s research interests include the design and modeling of compliant, underactuated mechanisms to improve the performance and simplify the control of robots. As the director of the Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory, Sangbae is working at the convergence of mechanical engineering, biology, and material science, and he is developing a new approach for robotic systems that combines advances in materials and mechanical components, force and position sensing, and flexible actuation on a wide range of scales. At Stanford University, Sangbae was the principal designer of several bioinspired legged robots, including: iSprawl, a cockroach-inspired hexapod that runs at up to 15 body-lengths per second over rough terrain; Spinybot, an arthropod-inspired robot that climbs vertical outdoor surfaces such as stucco and concrete; and Stickybot, a gecko-inspired robot that employs the first synthetic, directional, dry adhesive pads to climb smooth vertical surfaces such as windows. Stickybot was named one of the best inventions of 2006 by Time, and Sangbae’s paper about Stickybot earned the Best Student Paper Award at the 2007 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Sangbae was also the CTO at AromTech, where he worked on improving glass manipulation with directional adhesive in the LCD assembly process. He also worked at Solutionix, in Korea, where developed the first prototype of a 3-D scanner.
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Mr. Alan Labb
Associate Dean of Technology, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Before assuming his current duties, Mr. Alan Labb was the director of the Department of Computer Resources and Information Technologies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). SAIC provides students a multidisciplinary curriculum and the necessary freedom to develop as artists, designers, and scholars. Mr. Labb's current position allows him to continue as a technology planner for SAIC while serving as a full-time faculty member in the photography department. Alan integrates his efforts as an administrator and instructor to enhance SAIC's capacity for incorporating technological advancements into its diverse, transdisciplinary curricula. He was largely responsible for the collaboration between the city of Chicago, Jaume Plensa, and SAIC that made Millennium Park's Crown Fountain one of the most prominent sculptures in the world. He has served on the educational advisory boards of Adobe, Apple,, Iomega, Harold Washington City College of Chicago, and Chicago's Gallery 312. Alan has also consulted for numerous educational institutions, including the Hexagram Institute Research Centres, the Glasgow School of Design, Burren College of Art, Ontario College of Art and Design, Columbus College of Art and Design, and the College for Creative Studies. Most recently, he proposed and co-organized the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design Technology Forum at SAIC. Alan's photographic work explores the dynamics between autobiography, body image, and gender, and in his most recent work, historical contextualization through site-specific installation. He is widely published in such journals as SF Camerawork Quarterly, Albuquerque Journal, Chicago Reader, and Hyphen. Alan received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship and was honored as an Apple Distinguished Educator.
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Mr. Frank Nuovo
Founder, Design Studio Nuovo
After more than 16 years as chief of design for Nokia (ten of which he spent building and leading Nokia’s companywide design group), Mr. Frank Nuovo founded Design Studio Nuovo, where he develops new ventures with technology and manufacturing partners from around the world. At Nokia, Mr. Nuovo spearheaded the company’s styling and global industrial design innovations and initiated an international design group comprising more than 30 nationalities. Frank is also Vertu’s creative director and designer, and the visionary force behind the company whose luxury products are among the world’s most exclusive precision communications instruments. Before joining Nokia, he was the design director at BMW Designworks, where he designed consumer electronics, medical instruments, general consumer products, and automotive products for Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Frank and his team developed hybrid design methods combining traditional hand modeling, computer-aided-design, and rapid prototyping. He has served as an alumni president for the Art Center College of Design and has advised the Finnish National Museum of Modern Art. Frank has received dozens of awards and accolades, including the Art Center College of Design Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award and the American IDEA award. His work has been featured in museums around the world, including, the Neues Museum Nürnberg, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, both in New York.
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Mr. Aza Raskin
Founder, Massive Health
The son of human-computer-interface expert Jef Raskin, Mr. Aza Raskin is a design and interface expert. Mr. Raskin was previous creative lead at Mozilla Firefox, where his team recently introduced Tab Candy, a new way to organizing tabs spatially. Tab Candy was called "the best new browser feature since tabs were invented" by Computerworld. Massive Health is a health-related startup that aims to apply design principles to the problem of being unhealthy. Aza is a successful entrepreneur, having founded three companies: Songza, a music meta-search tool; Bloxes, which sells furniture made out of cardboard; and Humanized, where he continued work on the Archy paradigm. Songza was acquired by Amazon-backed Amie Street. He also has a number of smaller projects, including Algorithm Ink, a program that generates images from written instructions called a grammar. During the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, Aza mobilized a group of other entrepreneurs to create a crowd-source website site to turn real-time information streams into meaningful map data. He gave his first talk on interface design at the San Francisco chapter of SIGCHI and has been speaking publicly ever since. At 17, Aza was speaking and consulting internationally, and at 19, he co-authored a physics textbook. He is also an accomplished French horn soloist.
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Mr. Casey Reas
Professor, Design | Media Arts, University of California, Los Angeles
Mr. Casey Reas is an artist whose software, prints, and installations have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Mr. Reas co-developed Processing, an open-source programming language and environment for creating images, animation, and interaction. Casey is the author of Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture, a nontechnical introduction to the history, theory, and practice of software in the arts; and he is also the co-author of Getting Started with Processing, a casual introduction to programming. He received a 2008 Tribeca Film Institute Media Arts Fellowship (supported by the Rockefeller Foundation) and a 2005 Golden Nica award from Prix Ars Electronica, and he was included in the 2008 ArtReview Power 100. Casey’s images have been featured in various publications, including The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Print, Eye, Technology Review, and Wired.
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Mr. Nathan Shedroff
Chair, MBA in Design Strategy, California College of the Arts
Mr. Nathan Shedroff is a pioneer in experience design, interaction design, and information design. Experience design encompasses multiple senses and requirements and explores common characteristics in all media that make experiences successful. Mr. Shedroff’s MBA program prepares the next generation of innovators for a world that is profitable, sustainable, ethical, and meaningful. The program unites the perspectives of systems thinking, design and integrative thinking, sustainability, and generative leadership into a holistic strategic framework. Nathan frequently consults with organizations, helping to build strategies for using online technologies to enhance and evolve online brands, develop new offerings, and enhance customer relationships. He worked with Richard Saul Wurman at TheUnderstandingBusiness, and he co-founded Vivid studios, an interactive media company. One of the first Web services firms, Vivid helped to establish and validate the field of information architecture, by training a generation of designers in the emerging Web industry. Nathan has written many books, including Experience Design 1.1, Making Meaning, Design Is the Problem, and the upcoming Make It So.
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Mr. Juhan Sonin
Creative Director, Involution Studios
Mr. Juhan Sonin is an interface designer, research scientist, filmmaker, and human-computer interaction designer. At Involution Studios, he is involved in rapid prototyping, product design, company direction, and strategy. Mr. Sonin’s background includes a stint as the director of creative practice at Cinoni, where he oversaw front-end production, including usability engineering, information architecture, interface design, and formative evaluation. Juhan also worked at MITRE, where he led the Open Design Group, a cross-departmental engineering and design service that specialized in interface design, software engineering, human-computer interaction, data visualization, branding, and rapid product prototyping. He was a designer and research scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and he worked at Apple Computer’s education and outreach program, concentrating on delivering technology to K-12 classrooms. Juhan was also the director of production for the Media Cafe, a New York–based technology company, where he oversaw the production of several projects, including The Ring Disc, an interactive guide to Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Since 2008, he has been lecturing at MIT on design and rapid prototyping. He also is a loyal member of the Burlington RC Flyers, a radio-controlled-airplane club.
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Mr. James Spindler
Chief Creative Officer,
Mr. James Spindler has specialized in brand identity since 1990, giving unique voice and vision to worldwide brands across multiple platforms. is an international transmedia company that develops, produces, and distributes projects, a number of which have won awards in a variety of media, including television, feature films, music programming, commercials, graphic and interactive design, exhibitions, events, and photography. With a diverse range of projects in print, film, television, and interactive media, Mr. Spindler's work has been featured in The New York Times, I.D., and Paper, and has been recognized by British Design and Art Direction, the Cannes Film and Poster Festival, the New York Art Directors Club, the Clio and Andy Awards, and the Broadcast Design Awards. Previously, James worked as a design director at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, a senior art director for Deutsch Advertising, an on-air design director for VH1 Music Television, and a consulting design director for MTV Asia. He has been a featured guest lecturer at the Yale Graduate School of Design, the School of Visual Arts, Parsons: The New School for Design, and the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter. James' current projects include multimedia initiatives for NASA, the ONE campaign, and the artist Maya Lin. He has been on the juries of numerous design competitions, including those of the AIGA and the New York Art Directors Club.
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Dr. John Underkoffler
Chief Scientist, Oblong Industries
Dr. John Underkoffler is best known for his invention of the gestural interface system called G-Speak, developed during his doctoral studies. Oblong Industries helps clients deploy spatial operating environments to solve such problems as the analysis of large data sets, the operation of three-dimensional interfaces, the construction of efficient multi-user collaborative applications, and the integration of large screens and multiple computers into room- and building-scale work environments. G-Speak is an interactive system in which data is lifted from the computer screen and transferred into real space. A similar interface system was developed for the film Minority Report, on which Dr. Underkoffler served as a technical advisor. John has also worked on such films as The Hulk, Aeon Flux, The Island, and Click. He founded Treadle & Loam and Imatex; he co-founded Matter Group in 1999. John spent 15 years at MIT Media Lab, working in holography, animation and visualization techniques, and building the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room Systems. His work can be seen in the permanent collections of the New York Science Museum and at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
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Mr. Symon Whitehorn
Director of Design Strategy, Kodak
Mr. Symon Whitehorn focuses on innovation programs aimed at leading Kodak's brand into another century of meeting the world's imaging needs. Mr. Whitehorn has worked primarily on emerging technologies, designing their physical manifestation as products and their consequent interaction and relationships with users and brands. Symon has also directed the design development on industrial-design language programs for a number of Fortune 500 technology companies. He joined Kodak in 2007 after working at Pentagram Design Inc.'s San Francisco studio. Previously, Symon was a lead industrial designer at IDEO. He also worked with U.K. design studios Product First, Studio Brown, and Fitch, and he developed a diverse portfolio working throughout Europe on such products as luggage, furniture, consumer electronics, and mobile communications tools. Symon's work has been published in Axis, Design Week, Design, and ID, and he has received industry awards and recognition both in the United States and Europe.
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