The Knowledge Media Design Institute is an interdisciplinary unit of the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. Founded in 1996 by Professor Ron Baecker. The institute is U of T’s first virtual institute. Our researchers and students explore, design, and critique the knowledge media that enable people to communicate, create, learn, share, and collaborate.
The current director, Professor Mark Chignell, along with a distinguished executive committee work with faculty, students, and alumni from over twenty-five departments and eleven faculties. The KMDI community also extends to research and business in the public and private sectors to develop new projects. Our entrepreneurial operations team supports the research community by identifying potential collaborators and working to access new funding opportunities.
The Knowledge Media Design Institute is concerned with the ever-evolving interaction between humans and technology. We live in a designed world where the role of humans is constantly changing and will continue to change. The mission of the Knowledge Media Design Institute is to carry out research and education that will inform the design of devices, systems, and applications to enhance and ameliorate the role of humans in a world of embedded, supporting, and sometimes controlling, technologies. KMDI approaches this role from a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and human-centred perspective, combining science, technology, arts and design in its response to technological opportunity and change. In a rapidly evolving world, KMDI is a continuous evolving organization that seeks to address the problems of today as well as the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. The increasing use of sensors, availability of data, prevalence of mobile devices and augmented intelligence, and rapid advances in brain science and software tools of all kinds provide KMDI with a rich palette to work with. Although it works at the frontiers of design and technology, the over-arching goal of KMDI is to support and enhance the role of humanity in a world of mixed human and technological intelligence.
Today, the institute has a cluster of offices in Robarts Library along with the Semaphore Lab. We have the capacity to make it easier to work with colleagues across campus, across the country and globally. The challenges to build, support and sustain a social network remain, and continue to be a subject of our research. Students in the Collaborative Program are a vital part of the KMDI community. KMDI’s graduate courses bring together students from several different disciplines who are interested in the interaction between technology, media and society.