LabCampus and MIT SCL

Learning from the Next Generation of Smart City Designers

Fábio Duarte and students of MIT Senseable City Lab are working together on the research project LabCampus

On November 1, LabCampus and the renowned Senseable City Lab, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), signed an agreement to provide conceptual support for the development of a smart city. Senseable City Lab is a multidisciplinary research group—studying the interface between cities, people and technology. Each year, they invite students to participate in a Digital City Design Workshop. And LabCampus was the focus. Now they’ve provided 5 mind-blowing concepts at the intersection of spatial design and future work.


InnovationCall with Fábio Duarte, MIT Senseable City Lab

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MIT Senseable City Lab

For more information visit the MIT Senseable City Lab Website.


Munich Senseable City Guide - M1 Reiter by Nicholas Ayoub © MIT Senseable City Lab

by Nicholas Ayoub

Imagine your new workspace morphing into an active canvas—with artwork installations gliding past you. Building on the modernist art movement called “DER BLAUE REITER” (THE BLUE HORSERIDER), this idea proposes using art to promote social interaction. In REITER autonomous vehicles and urban furniture exchange data to create digital art landscapes. Interactive display units distributed around the campus would encourage residents to create a work of art that is then visualized in real time on the vehicles passing by. Why we like this idea: It combines the avant-garde artistic tradition of Munich with the city’s strength in technological development—which is exactly what we’re trying to do, too!  


Munich Senseable City Guide - M2 SensHack Garden by Martina Mazzarello © MIT Senseable City Lab

by Martina Mazzarello

Taking locally produced to innovative heights—this idea envisions community gardening on campus as a platform: One that integrates technology, people, plants, the environment and experience through data. Perhaps one day the residents will be able to create a profile, hire a garden, choose their plants of choice, use predictive systems to control water levels and temperature and decide what is grown and consumed in the restaurants and cafés across campus. Companies would choose if they want to get their hands dirty or simply let a robot do the work. Or they can water the plants whilst working from home. It doesn’t take a genius to see the metaphor here: At LabCampus we are all about growing together.


Munich Senseable City Guide - M3 Skyface by Sija Zhong © MIT Senseable City Lab

by Sijia Zhong

Two factors exemplify the global outreach of LabCampus: technological innovation and the airport, an international hub serving more than 46 million passengers per year. And what’s great about this idea is the authentic stage that’s been chosen to pay tribute to that: the sky. At its most complex, Skyface aims to create a spatial experience by pooling and visualizing large data sets. A simple scan of a boarding pass, for example, could one day activate a projection of customized visualizations beamed across the sky. But more simply applied, Skyface is a huge-scale art installation reminding residents everyday of LabCampus’s role in connecting people around innovation.


Munich Senseable City Guide - M4 Soundflux by Zhaodi Wang © MIT Senseable City Lab

by Zhaodi Wang

The beauty of the Soundflux idea lies in its simplicity. What if, with the help of water, the occasionally hectic and busy atmosphere surrounding an airport could be counteracted? This is exactly what Soundflux does by harvests sound using sensors embedded in the local environment. Water features could be placed, reacting to the data provided and counterbalancing it—replicating the sound of bubbling water for example. What I like about this idea? It’s a wonderful way of improving livability powered by technology. And it brings environmental elements, human interaction and space together.


Munich Senseable City Guide - M5 LabMug by Han Ning Tsai © MIT Senseable City Lab

by Han Ning Tsai

This final idea is another one that plays to our traditions. The LabMug invites LabCampus residents to take networking to the next level. Drawing on our Bavarian beer garden heritage, the LabMug has a removable smart coaster. Potentially, the residents could pre-program their profile details: company, email, social media addresses etc. and with a simple “Prost” or toast, their details are exchanged. There is further potential in this idea for LabCampus to use that data to indicate how and when different spaces on campus are being utilized. And honestly, who doesn’t like a digital gimmick or two?