Kelly Dobson

  • Artist & Technologist

A self-proclaimed junkyard kid, Kelly Dobson has marveled at the underlying connection between people and machines since the age of four. She is a researcher and doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she developed... More

A self-proclaimed junkyard kid, Kelly Dobson has marveled at the underlying connection between people and machines since the age of four. She is a researcher and doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she developed “machine therapy,” a personal, societal and psychoanalytical study of machine design and its pervasive effects on everyday life. Kelly’s recent work includes a voice-controlled blender named Blendie, and ScreamBody (the first in a series of wearable body organs), which allows users to vocalize emotions in otherwise impermissible environments. “Critical infoldings happen in the connections between people and machines,” Kelly says. “Machines have expressive, engaging behaviors, strength of character, negotiative egos and neurotic propensities.”

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Kelly Dobson's Presentations

PopTech 2008 October 2008

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Machine therapy: Dobson is making a personal, societal and psychoanalytical study of machine design and its effects on peoples’ everyday lives. Watch as she exhibits Screambody, Blendie and Omo, three fascinating robots that respond to – and influence – their users in provocative ways.

Machine therapy: Dobson is making a personal, societal and psychoanalytical study of machine design and its effects on peoples’ everyday lives. Watch as she exhibits Screambody, Blendie and Omo, three fascinating robots that respond to – and influence – their users in provocative ways.

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Gel 2008 April 2008

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After communicating with Blendie, her custom-built voice-activated blender, Kelly starts with a great first line - "I work with machines" - and goes on to describes her unique vision for human-machine interaction. Kelly's genius is building machines... More

After communicating with Blendie, her custom-built voice-activated blender, Kelly starts with a great first line - "I work with machines" - and goes on to describes her unique vision for human-machine interaction. Kelly's genius is building machines to respond to natural cues, like the frazzled screams in ScreamBody (this footage is also in her Gel talk) or normal breathing, as with the empathic Omo device. User interfaces this elegant are incredibly rare; it's worth considering how these patterns - natural cues, radical empathy - could be applied to other experiences.

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