Hello. People know me as Kenny, Ken, and Kenneth. My snowsuit is blue.
I am a designer who loves to make things, using any process (including inventing new processes for making things!).
As a research scientist at NASA, I conduct research at the intersection of design, mechanical engineering, and material science. I'm particularly fond of applying rapid prototyping to test ideas that can change the status quo in design, based on physical first-principles analyses. My current laboratory work focuses on applying building-block based (digital) materials and algorithms to aeronautical and space applications. As a member of the Ames Center Chief Technologist (CCT) staff, I serve as the technical lead on advanced manufacturing technology, and advise on on matters concerning rapid prototyping processes and materials. Broadly, the NASA Ames CCT office helps to identify, define, develop and integrate new and emerging technologies for application to agency and national goals through the NASA Space Technology Program. This is a personal website; for official government information, please click on this link: (NASA).
Prior to joining NASA, I did my Ph.D. work with the Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA), where I helped to show that these kinds of digital material strategies can be used to make new kinds of materials (strong and light weight), and new kinds of robots (like transformers). I continue to collaborate with university researchers on this work, including at MIT CBA.
My work at CBA included being a part of the fab lab network for many years; fab labs are a global grassroots community-driven technology education effort that is based on the notion that anyone, anywhere (regardless of prior education) has the ability to design and produce their own technological solutions. I love to teach others how to install and tune rapid prototyping equipment, and have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do so in labs on almost every continent, together with workshops on community wireless networking (internet across borders), rapid prototyping machines that make rapid prototyping machines, environmentally friendly fiber composite materials, and CNC (boat, bicycle, and furniture) design.
Prior to joining CBA, I did my M.S. work in the Architectural Studies Computation and Design Group, with the Changing Places Research Consortium, at the MIT Media Lab. There, I worked on systems for developing anonymized empirical models of human behavior for environmental design and evaluation, using context aware mobile phone software and hardware. Prior to joining MIT, I did my undergraduate degree in architecture (B.Arch) at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York, USA), where I worked on design generation and evaluation algorithms based on models of human behavior, as well as natural mechanical systems (plant biomechanics) and the science of the human environmental response (environmental psychology).