Frontiers 5 Strategic mit technology Thrusts

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5 Strategic MIT Technology Thrusts

  • Information Technologies = Ever more sophisticated computation & communication, leveraging mind & media.

  • Biomedical Technologies = Medical engineering, perfecting the health & life sciences.

  • Tiny Technologies = Investigating and fabricating ever smaller systems, at scales from micro thru nano

  • Complex Systems = Large scale, socio-political & econo-technological systems.

  • Developmental Innovations = Appropriate and leapfrog technologies for tackling challenges in developing & emerging regions

1. Information Technologies

  • Computation

  • Communication

  • Intelligence

  • Automation

  • Encryption

  • Media

Pervasive Computing

Project Oxygen

  • Human Centered Computing

  • Acer, Delta, HP, NTT, Nokia, Philips, darpa

MIT Media Lab Wearables

Media Lab Smart Nametags

Pervasive Implications

  • Immersive Info – Remembrance agents, face reminders, seamless PDAs

  • Premier Digital Infospace – Next generation libraries, info databases & visualization environments

  • Evocative Architectural Innovations – Digital Glass, Organic HVAC controls

2. Biomedical Technologies

  • Applied Biology, Biotechnology

  • Diagnostics, imaging

  • Therapeutics, pharmaceuticals

  • Invasive or Non-Invasive Devices

  • Instrumentation


Brain & Cognitive Sciences; Increasingly, Neurotechnology

Neurodiagnostic Imaging & Probes

Decision, Emotion, Addiction, & Habit Analysis

Artificial Senses

Nerve Regeneration

3. Tiny Technologies

  • MicroPhotonics

  • Materials: smart, active, living, rugged

  • MEMS: micro-electro-mechanical

  • NEMS: nanotechnology, NanoStructures

  • NanoMedia

  • Quantum Dots, Computing

  • Fabrication techniques


Engineering at Different Scales: Dimensions in Silicon and in Biology

Active Materials

  • Source:


  • research/projects.gif

Prostheses & Exo- Skeletons

Drawing Inspiration & More from Biology

  • Ribosomes

  • Flagellar Motors

  • Muscles

Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology

Protective Suits, Living Suits

Life-Like Automata

4. Complex Systems

  • Environmental

  • Big Systems: space, air traffic, 777, power grid, internet

  • Social: Organizational, entrepreneurial, business, cultural


Sensing, Modeling & Understanding Social Systems…

  • Supply Chains

  • Business Cycles

  • Economies

  • Urban Dynamics

  • World Dynamics

Social Net Analysis & Facilitation

  • Understanding social relationshiops

  • Guiding flows of information

  • Real knowledge management

  • Orchestrating Serendipity

Predictive Microcosms

Supply Chain Volatility Amplification: “The Bullwhip Effect”

Management “Flight Simulators”

Components of MIT’s Interwoven Technology Roadmapping Effort

  • Business cycle dynamics (e.g., systems dynamics-like models of the bullwhip effect)

  • Industry structure dynamics (e.g., rigorous version of the double helix in Fine’s Clockspeed book)

  • Corporate strategy dynamics (e.g., dynamicize Porter-like analyses for players in the value chain)

  • Technology dynamics (e.g., the Semiconductor Industry Association's roadmap built around Moore's law)

  • Regulatory Policy Dynamics (e.g. Cross-National, Cross Sector

Performance in Organizations

5. Developmental Innovations

  • Development Technologies

  • MicroFinance

  • Developmental Entrepreneurship

  • Sensible Policy

Exponential Technologies

Exponential Technologies Hi-Leverage & Transformative e.g. Portable Computers for the people e.g. Cellphones per village e.g. Intellectual capital development via school or innovator network system e.g. Financial & Legal infrastructure

Two Dimensions


  • Functionality goes exponential for a given amount of money

  • Price plummets exponentially for a given amount of functionality or performance

Infocom: Webios

Infocom: Universal Translator

  • Reduce misunderstandings

  • Increase flow of trade

  • Teaching tool

Infocom: Printed Electronics

  • Printed PCs?

  • Printed PDAs?

  • Electronic Ink applications

Health: Penny Diagnostics

Finance: MicroCredit, MicroFinance, MicroVC

  • Credit = loans and lines of credit, debt

  • Finance = more general financial services

  • VC = risk capital, equity

  • Monetizing Social Capital

Education: OpenSource Ideation & Training e.g.OpenCourseWare / Distance Learning

  • Bringing MIT to the world instead of the world to MIT

  • Generalizing

  • Talent identification

Richly Interwoven MIT Themes


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