IAN BUTTERWORTH
CREATIVE ENGINEERING
IAN BUTTERWORTH
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- Who am I?
I’m a multidisciplinarian.

I currently lead one, and co-lead three starkly different biomedically focused projects at MIT, having formed strong collaborations locally and internationally with clinicians from a pre-inception stage. I am aiming for big impact by finding firmly defendable unmet medical needs, then innovating potential solutions unbound to a specific technical or clinical domain.

I have a specific strong expertise in acoustics, having spent 5 years at a world-leading acoustics department at the UK's national measurement institute, where I worked on innovative metrology approaches such as laser interferometry-based acousto-optic imaging for complex sound fields, and various medical ultrasound safety techniques.

I am an active and passionate musical/visual producer and performer, with a range of projects and collaborations ranging from atmospheric modern EDM, to live visualisations. From highly conceptual scientifically generated/influenced music, to guitar/keys/production in an indie band that sounds like happy radiohead.

I am a biomedical scientist, an audio-visual artist/engineer, and a design perfectionist.

M+Visión Senior Research Fellow, Biomedical Engineering | MIT RLE | 2013 - current
Higher Research Scientist, Acoustics/Ultrasonics | National Physical Laboratory, UK | 2008 - 2013

MSc. Audio Acoustics - University of Salford, UK | 2009
BEng. Electronic Engineering - University of Warwick, UK | 2007

- What challenge do I want to take on?
The main project I lead at MIT is aiming to address the prevalence of dehydration in both high-risk and broad populations. We're developing the first truly day-to-day wearable hydration sensor, based on a novel approach that I and my team have invented, yet we strongly suspect that measurement is only one small piece of the real solution.

To truly address the broad and specific prevalences of dehydration (or obesity , or neurological disease, or many other issues), it is my belief that technology-to-human feedback mechanisms need to evolve, and now is the time to start. With the current rate of biophysical technology innovation, the increasing ubiquity of smart devices/environments, and the recent movements around relaxation of regulatory controls by the FDA for such systems, we're on the cusp of a colossal change in health and lifestyle management.

“Intelligible Feedback”

I propose a research track focusing on this relationship, exploring unconventional and novel feedback mechanisms to maximise effectiveness, optimise simplicity, and nurture a flourishing relationship between information and human.

While smart devices provide an excellent platform for the management and presentation of data, the types of relationship I want to explore stretch far beyond what we have seen so far. To truly solve these issues, the solution is rarely going to be just finding the right metric to plot in an App. I want to explore the use of fundamental sensory, social, and environmental triggers to make the information truly intelligible.
- Why only at the Media Lab?
Antidisciplinary and unconventional culture: I truly believe in the strength of this ethos, and such an environment is ideal for the technology non-specific research I wish to focus on. I’ve been fortunate to experience a similar culture since arriving at MIT, but the approach the Media Lab is unlike any other. I crave such an environment.

Drive: I push myself harder when I’m surrounded by brilliant, ambitious, collegial, fun people.

Communication and translation: The full process of implementing solutions involves getting it out of the lab. The Media Lab is second to none on communicating and accelerating academic innovation.

Boston - the center of the biomedical universe: This is the place to be for curating successful biomedical innovation.

The new Media Lab logo: It's fantastic.
Interactive and Visual Acoustics
Biomedical Metrology
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