Carson Smuts

Carson Smuts is a South African-born architect, industrial designer and researcher with a focus on the societal impact of technology. He is a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he specializes in city science and the development of urban design instruments. His recent professional academic experience includes his time as Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, New York.

Carson is a doctoral candidate in the Research Chair, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria. His doctoral research investigates the digitization, and thereby the masking, of collective memory and how this parsing of reality relies on the classification of the individual to graphically curate urban experience.

He received professional training and degrees in architecture (BAS and BArch), which he studied and practiced locally in South Africa from 2001 to 2008. He holds a Masters of Science in Advanced Architectural Design (MSAAD) from Columbia University, New York. Having learnt robotics and programming there, his interests turned towards technologies applicable to the relationship between architectural space and body - specifically interfaces between users and machines in an urban context and the liminal spaces of society where equity, or lack thereof, in technological systems is often overlooked.

His current work at MIT CityScience Lab involves multiple scales of designing, developing, and deploying of exhibitions, robotics, and sensors. He leads the development of the MIT’s Environmental Sensor (MITes) hardware and accompanying analytical software for gathering and assessing urban environmental data. These interfaces focus on consensus building, and allow communities to gain real-world insights. Much of this work includes engaging cities and communities focused on urban projects that involve policy making around technological applications. He is also responsible for the development of architectural robotics projects at the scale of the body. This work explores novel material applications with a focus on well-being in work/live scenarios.


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