Letter of Support from Rosalind Picard
Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
To the NSF SBIR Phase II Grant Committee:
(Including Reviewers, NSF Grant Officer, and other relevant NSF personnel)
I am writing in support of David Durlach's application for a Phase II NSF SBIR grant. I have known of David's work since I saw (and was mesmerized by) one of his sculptures at the Boston Museum of Science, where it had won award for "Most Popular Invention".
Not only does David design remarkable art but he is also attracting some of the finest students at MIT, at both the graduate and undergraduate level, to work on exciting projects that combine technical challenges with creative expression. His company, TechnoFrolics, has given opportunities to at least five talented MIT students to participate in exciting projects in their fields of interest, projects which serve the dual-purpose of educating and entertaining.
I recently had the honor of hosting a Media Lab colloquium by David which attracted one of the largest crowds we have ever had at our colloquia. David entertained and educated -- a beautiful blend of information and fun, reflecting the spirit of all his creations. Out of all the talks I've sponsored or attended at the Media Lab, I have never heard so many positive remarks afterward -- remarks from students and staff such as "That was the greatest talk we've ever had."
I believe in what David is trying to achieve, and am committed to helping him succeed with his projects. I have offered to help David by communicating the work of TechnoFrolics to outsiders, and have made MIT facilities available as a sign of my support. I am eager to see other students have the opportunity to work with David, and have offered my services as an ongoing liaison between TechnoFrolics and MIT. The MIT community is greatly enriched by contact with Durlach and his work.
It is hard to find artists of Durlach's caliber and creativity, who push the frontiers of technology and yet have a heart for how people respond affectively. Not only is David artistically and scientifically gifted, but he is committed to sharing his gifts through education and apprenticeship. He is clearly an outstanding young man; I urge you to continue to support him with your grants.
Rosalind W. Picard
NEC Development Professor of Computers and Communications
Associate Professor of Media Technology