Media Room
Nicholas Negroponte, Richard A. Bolt

“Such startling advances and cost reductions are occurring in microelectronics that we believe future systems will not be characterised by their memory size or processing speed. Instead, the human interface will become the major measure, calibrated in very subjective units, so sensory and personalised that it will be evaluated by feelings and perceptions. Is it easy to use? Does it feel good? Is it pleasurable?”

Quote Credits: Bolt, Richard A. Spatial data management system. Massachusetts Inst of Tech Cambridge Architecture Machine Group, 1978.

In 1979, the Greek American architect Nicholas Negroponte (b. 1943) and American physicist Richard A. Bolt (b.1911) develop the “Media Room” at MIT’s Architecture Machine Group (a predecessor of the MIT Media Lab). This project is a leading example for an intuitive interactive multimedia display, due to the localisation and spatialisation of data, instead of referring to it only by name. Sat on an Eames-like chair, a viewer could manoeuvre through a virtual space, coined “Dataland”, with a joystick, touch screens and a microphone. In the foreword of Bolt’s publication “Spatial Data-Management”, written in 1979, Negroponte predicts the importance of multisensory human interfaces, led by qualitative values over quantitative dimensions, such as size and speed.