HUMAN+COMPUTER is an interdisciplinary workshop series focusing on transhumanism.


Transhumanism is the belief that the human race can evolve beyond its current limitations through the use of science and technology. However, will our accelerating transformation into cyborgs be a form of transcendence or are we building our own prisons of technology?

This class will combine the design of new body/machine interfaces with learning relevant technical skills in electronics, digital fabrication, and programming. With a focus on building wearable devices, human augmentation, and alternative, more visceral forms of communication, students from MIT, Brown, and RISD will work in groups to conceptualize, prototype, and finally build functioning versions of their ideas in whatever form they will take. Students will read related science fiction short stories and theory readings and be introduced to work within the fields of critical and speculative design as well as recent developments within the field of human computer interaction. In particular, students will learn to use the Arduino GSM Shield, which allows for the simple creation of functioning cell phones, and be introduced to digital fabrication processes like lasercutting and 3d printing, all the while staying in touch with fine art processes such as printmaking and casting. The culmination of the course will be an exhibition of the student work in Expose, RISD's student-run gallery.

HUMAN+COMPUTER is open to RISD/Brown and MIT undergraduate and graduate students in any department, for free! Students are encouraged to form partnerships at the end of the first day with students from the other school(s), and to work collaboratively. This is a non-credit bearing class, just a workshop series for your own personal fulfillment. The workshop series will be rigorous, though. We think it's very possible to make some very compelling work together for the show in February!

Week One

To kick off H+C, on Saturday, January 14 students from RISD, Brown, and MIT descended on MIT’s Media lab to participate in the first of four workshops in a series called Human + Computer. The workshop series is facilitated by three media lab graduate students, David Mellis, Sophia Brueckner, and Tiffany Tseng, as well as our own Ryan Flomerfelt Mather, who conceived of the workshop as a case study on art-science collaboration, and interdisciplinary learning.

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Images Courtesy of Jennifer Kwack

Week Two

On January 18th, students from Brown, RISD, and MIT convened at RISD’s Edna Lawrence Nature Lab for the second meeting of Human + Computer | Wintersession and IAP Workshop Series.

The day started off with a critique of the work that the participants had prepared in the first week. Participants showed off videos of the proposed interaction, prototypes of the electronic functionality, a fabrication strategy, and a other process work.

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Images Courtesy of Jennifer Kwack

Week Three

This past Saturday, January 25th, participants in the Human + Computer workshop series reconvened at the MIT Media Lab for its third installment. The morning was filled with an impassioned critique of the students projects.

The groups presented impressive progress, and suggested plans for their implementation and presentation for the show that the work will be featured in. Evan Brooks (RISD '13) and Alex Czulak (Brown '15) showed off a slew of 3D printed prototypes for a wearable device that allows the user to communicate their heart rate to a special someone. The prototype was compelling, but the proposal for how the team might tell the embedded story of the work was equally as thought provoking. How might advertisements for this look in the future? Would the TSA require you to take off your heart rate monitors so as not to interfere with wireless communications - or much worse - distract the pilot?

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Images Courtesy of Jennifer Kwack

Week Four

We were all blown away by the final critique of Human + Computer last Saturday which was hosted at RISD E’ship’s space at 204 Westminster st. This was the culmination of three weeks of hard work done by students from MIT, RISD, and Brown. We were fortunate to have Kelly Dobson, Department head of Digital + Media at RISD, Lisa Z. Morgan, author, designer, and founder of Strumpet & Pink, and Kimberly Young, a local dance artist.

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Images Courtesy of Jennifer Kwack and Ryan Mather


For some introductions to various digital manufacturing resources, STEAMstudio is a good place to start.
Here is a document for good part-buying resources.
Two short inspirational sci-fi reads: TAP by Greg Egan, Day Million by Frederik Pohl.
Build in Progress, the project history and organization app we recommend.
This is the Human+Computer Project Page. For future STEAM updates, please sign up for our LISTSERV!

Final Show

A show featuring all of the work and others from the RISD, Brown, and MIT communities, will open on February 15th at Exposé, RISD’s student run gallery. Hope to see you there! Exposé is located at 204 Westminster in Providence, RI on the second floor.


Our RISD: Human + Computer!


Please reach out with any questions! You can contact us individually via our websites or at

MIT Media Lab

MIT Media Lab

MIT Media Lab


Property of STEAM. Also sponsored by RISD Architecture & Design, and the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab.