MIT professor and CSAIL principal investigator Stefanie Mueller has been recognized as one of MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 for her ongoing work to reprogram objects' appearances using photochromic dyes with fine controls over different color channels. The list highlights the thirty-five most promising young people working in technology today, with Mueller being one of two faculty members honored.
Mueller’s latest innovation allows physical objects to change their appearance frequently. For example, it can cause a shirt to switch colors when needed. In a recent interview with MIT Technology Review, the HCI Engineering group director likens her work to applying a filter to a digital image, making it useful in future product design.
“Developing this method required me to leverage knowledge from optics, materials science, hardware engineering, and computational optimization algorithms,” she says. The innovation builds on her previous research in human-computer interaction.
With a focus on advancing personal fabrication technologies, Mueller has recently worked on several groundbreaking and eye-catching projects. She contributed to ElectroVoxels, which are robotic cubes that can shapeshift in zero gravity. Mueller also assisted on EIT-kit, which personalizes health and motion sensing wearables using internal conductivity imaging.
Mueller’s novel hardware and software systems helped her earn a Microsoft research faculty fellowship in 2020. She has won best paper awards at the ACM CHI and ACM UIST conferences, in addition to being an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and one of the Forbes 30 under 30 in Science.