The lecture addresses new ways in which materials of the environment can be imbued with Artificial Intelligence and life-like behavior in order to interface with human emotion. The goal is to address the possibility of an empathetic relationship between human beings and their environment in order to augment human intelligence and sensory experience of the world and influence social interactions. By demonstrating a series of interdisciplinary projects developed by the author, the attempt is to address provocative research questions through design and critical making, fueled by the latest advances in the world of neuroscience, cognitive philosophy, computational design, artificial intelligence and feminism. From wearables to architecture, these projects demonstrate an application of techniques, such as EEG brain imaging, facial and gaze tracking as well as novel actuator systems, such as smart materials and pneumatics systems.
Bio: Trained as an architect, Behnaz Farahi is an award winning designer and critical maker based in Los Angeles. She holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Media Arts and Practice from USC School of Cinematic Arts. Currently she is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Design, California State University, Long Beach. She explores how to foster an empathetic relationship between the human body and the space around it using computational systems. Her work addresses critical issues such as feminism, emotion, perception and social interaction. Farahi has won several awards including the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum Digital Design Award, Innovation By Design Fast Company Award, World Technology Award. She is a co-editor of an issue of AD, ‘3D Printed Body Architecture’ (2017) and ‘Interactive Design’ (forthcoming) and ‘Emotive Design’ (forthcoming).