R. Benjamin Knapp is the Founding Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. ICAT seeks to promote research and education at the boundaries between art, design, engineering, and science. Dr. Knapp also leads the Music, Sensors, and Emotion research group, with researchers in the UK and the US.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Knapp has been working to create meaningful links between human-computer interaction, universal design, and various forms of creativity. His research on human-computer interaction has focused on the development and design of user-interfaces and software that allow both composers and performers to augment the physical control of a musical instrument with direct sensory interaction. He holds twelve patents and is the co-inventor of the BioMuse system, which enables artists to use gesture, cognition, and emotional state to interact with audio and video media.
In previous positions, Dr. Knapp has served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at University College, Dublin, and chief technology officer of the Technology Research for Independent Living Centre. As the director of technology at MOTO Development Group in San Francisco, Calif., he managed teams of engineers and designers developing human-computer interaction systems for companies such as Sony, Microsoft, and Logitech. He co-founded BioControl Systems, a company that develops mobile bioelectric measurement devices for artistic interaction. Dr. Knapp has also served as professor and chair of the Department of Computer, Information, and Systems Engineering at San Jose State University.
He earned a doctorate and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University. Dr. Knapp has been a PI in several pan-European projects including, CAPSIL (Common Awareness and Knowledge Platform for Studying and Enabling Independent Living) and SIEMPRE (Social Interaction and Entrainment Using Music Performance) and coordinated the EU project, BRAID (Bridging Research in Ageing and ICT Development).
ICAT Advisory Board
Domhnaill Hernon is an award-winning technology, innovation and creativity executive. Domhnaill received an undergrad in Aeronautical Engineering and a PhD in Aerodynamics from the University of Limerick and an executive MBA from Dublin City University, Ireland. He previously led R&D organizations and developed and executed strategies to overcome the “innovation valley of death”. He is Head of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) which is a new initiative he founded to fuse art and engineering/science to develop solutions that humanize technology. Domhnaill’ s work has been featured in Wired Magazine, Times Square, XSW, Nasdaq, MWC, Ars Electronica, TEDx, Inspirefest to name just a few and he advises cultural programs globally.
Andrew Kim is a manager in Workspace Futures for Steelcase Inc. Andrew is responsible for applying human-centered design methods to support new market strategies and product development efforts. His curiosity and passion revolve around the intersection of social behaviors, the built environment and technology. His areas of interest include creativity, learning, and smart environments. Steelcase is an industry leader in understanding how the future of work will shape employee experiences and their impact on work, learning and health environments.
Patricia Bartlett recently retired from the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest education, museum and research complex. She served in three senior positions over her eleven years of service including, most recently, the position of Associate Provost for Education and Access. In this position Ms. Bartlett managed a portfolio focused on bringing Smithsonian expertise and content to millions of U.S. and global audiences and thousands of communities each year. She was responsible for overseeing national education centers, a traveling exhibition service and an affiliates museum program with a member network of over 210 museum and cultural organizations.
Ms. Bartlett also served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for initiatives involving higher education collaborations and partnerships.
From 2008 to 2015, Bartlett was Chief of Staff to Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough. In this role she managed the Office of the Secretary, supported leadership with policy and operations matters, and led special initiatives on behalf of the Secretary.
Before joining the Smithsonian, Patricia Bartlett was the Director of Federal Relations for the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Asta Roseway works as a Principal Research Designer in the Urban Innovation Initiative at Microsoft Research but refers to herself as a “Fusionist”, or someone who works between disciplines and fields using design. Her focus lies primarily towards building the next wave of emerging solutions towards the Environment, Emotional Health, Social Consciousness, and Sustainability. Her research often begins with the same question, “what if?” which often leads to unconventional outcomes such as smart tattoos, talking plants, living architecture, and wearable light therapy accessories for seasonal affective disorder. She is also a strong advocate for a diverse and inclusive culture and helped to establish Microsoft’s first ever Artist in Residence program that enables artists to work with the research community. Some of these collaborations have been showcased at venues such as Ars Electronica, SXSW, CES, and Biofabricate in NY. She also co-founded Digigirlz, one of Microsoft’s longest running diversity programs that aims to inform and inspire high school girls about the Tech Industry. She is a Parsons School of Design alumni.
Ben Congleton is CEO and Co-Founder of Olark Live Chat, a software company that helps businesses accelerate growth by targeting and streamlining their customer outreach, service, and sales. Olark went through the YCombinator incubator program in 2009, and is now bootstrapped, profitable, and proud, with more than 12,000 customers around the world. Ben holds a BS in Business Information Technology, as well as a BS and MS in Computer Science, from Virginia Tech, and spent 3 years pursuing a PhD in the University of Michigan's School of Information. He lives with his wife and two daughters in East Palo Alto, California.