Leading Design, Arts & Tech

Leading Design, Arts & Tech

Thanassis Rikakis

Carnegie Mellon University hosts groundbreaking cross-disciplinary synergies.

To facilitate growth in this area, Thanassis Rikakis has been named to the newly created position of Vice Provost for Design, Arts and Technology at Carnegie Mellon University.

Rikakis will serve as a full professor in the College of Fine Arts' School of Design and School of Music and will hold a courtesy appointment in the College of Engineering's Biomedical Engineering Department.

He also will oversee the university's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), facilitating increased connections between the groundbreaking activities of the ETC and related activities on campus.

Rikakis said he sees his new role as an opportunity to enhance CMU's firmly established reputation as a proving ground for successful cross-discipline teamwork.

The university is, he said, the world's leading technical institution with an embedded conservatory for the arts.

Additionally, he pointed out that the ETC is internationally recognized for its work at the crossroads of arts and technology. He looks to continue similar collaboration, expanding it across all disciplines.

"The evolution of digital technology is reshaping the human experience and its mediation structures," Rikakis said. "To guarantee a rich, reflective and cultivating hybrid human experience, we need to approach the development and implementation of all these mediation structures through integrative design, arts and technology perspectives — and also seek the contribution of science and humanities perspectives."

For the past 11 years, Thanassis had led an interdisciplinary team — spanning rehabilitation medicine, neuroscience, engineering, design and the arts — that is developing mixed reality rehabilitation systems for stroke survivors.

These systems track the movement of stroke survivors during functional tasks in the physical realm and enhance internal feedback with digitally generated, multimodal feedback that facilitates motor learning and functional recovery.

While at CMU, he hopes to continue his research in mixed reality rehabilitation for stroke survivors, tapping into the vast network of technological, creative and medical resources available in Pittsburgh.

Rikakis most recently was at Arizona State University, where he was a professor and founding director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, as well as the director of the digital culture undergraduate curriculum.

His interdisciplinary research and publications focus on the areas of experiential media, mixed reality rehabilitation and computer music. He also has composed more than 30 original music compositions that have been performed in the United States, Europe and Asia.

"Vice Provost Rikakis' charge is to facilitate the growth of the many existing synergies among design, arts and technology — each term broadly conceived — as well as to create opportunities for new ones," said CMU Provost and Executive Vice President Mark S. Kamlet. "He brings a wealth of experience and vision to further that mission at our university."

Related Links: College of Engineering | Read more | College of Fine Arts | Entertainment Technology Center

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