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The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices

How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives

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Description

If you've ever read a book on an e-reader, unleashed your inner rock star playing Guitar Hero, built a robot with LEGO Mindstorms, or ridden in a vehicle with child-safe air bags, then you've experienced first hand just a few of the astounding innovations that have come out of the Media Lab over the past 25 years. But that’s old hat for today’s researchers, who are creating technologies that will have a much deeper impact on the quality of people’s lives over the next quarter century. 
 
In this exhilarating tour of the Media Lab's inner sanctums, we'll meet the professors and their students - the Sorcerers and their Apprentices - and witness first hand the creative magic behind inventions such as:
 
* Nexi, a mobile humanoid robot with such sophisticated social skills she can serve as a helpful and understanding companion for the sick and elderly.
* CityCar, a foldable, stackable, electric vehicle of the future that will redefine personal transportation in cities and revolutionize urban life.
* Sixth Sense, a compact wearable device that transforms any surface – wall, tabletop or even your hand - into a touch screen computer.
* PowerFoot, a lifelike robotic prosthesis that enables amputees to walk as naturally as if it were a real biological limb.
 
Through inspiring stories of people who are using Media Lab innovations to confront personal challenges - like a man with cerebral palsy who is unable to hum a tune or pick up an instrument yet is using an ingenious music composition system to unleash his “inner Mozart”, and a woman with a rare life-threatening condition who co-invented a revolutionary web service that enables patients to participate in the search for their own cures - we’ll see how the Media Lab is empowering us all with the tools to take control of our health, wealth, and happiness. 
 
Along the way, Moss reveals the highly unorthodox approach to creativity and invention that makes all this possible, explaining how the Media Lab cultivates an open and boundary-less environment where researchers from a broad array of disciplines – from musicians to neuroscientists to visual artists to computer engineers - have the freedom to follow their passions and take bold risks unthinkable elsewhere.
 
The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices can serve as a blueprint for how to fix our broken innovation ecosystem and bring about the kind of radical change required to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  It is a must-read for anyone striving to be more innovative as an individual, as a businessperson, or as a member of society. 

Also includes 16 pages of color photos highlighting some of the lab's most visually stunning inventions - and the people who make them possible.
 

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 25, 2011 – In this boosterish but underwhelming prospectus, the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's storied Media Lab extols the avant-garde digital technologies erupting from his institution. Some of the projects he profiles, like better prosthetic limbs, are very worthwhile. Others, like a fork that warns you when you're eating too fast, seem trivial and annoying. And some, like digital instruments that let people with "a complete lack of any ‘natural musical talent'... experience the sheer joy of making music," are clear public nuisances. (Guitar Hero was a Lab spinoff, the author boasts.) Moss celebrates Lab denizens' "incredible passion" and insists, unconvincingly, that participatory corporate sponsorships (industry employees "collaborate" with the academics) never nudge their "total creative freedom" toward marketable gimmicks. In the background hovers his vision of a posthuman future that's half digital nanny-state, half nouveau-riche daydream for the techno-elite ("A chef in Beijing could work with a robotic partner in Boston to prepare a ten-course banquet in my kitchen"). Moss's hackneyed cheerleading doesn't dispel the impression that the Lab mainly generates overhyped mediocrity. Photos.

Customer Reviews

The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices

You might not think the story of MIT's Media Lab, an innovation center, would be inspiring, uplifting and even funny; but it truly is. Thanks to the Media Lab for everything it's done for the world, thanks to the lab director for writing this book and inspiring. I will be buying multiple copies of this book to give as gifts

The Scorcerers and Their Apprentices

Love the stories! Interesting to see how new ideas lead to even newer ideas.

The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Engineering
  • Published: Jun 07, 2011
  • Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings