A proven leader of diverse research teams with experience in visual & physical design, computer & cognitive science, mechanical engineering, and business. Has developed cutting edge technologies in digital fabrication, web platforms for mass customization, and robotic manufacturing and assembly programming. Known to be a fun collaborator and visionary thinker, with a get-it-done attitude.
Recently awarded a PhD from MIT on how robotics can enhance design thinking through exploratory material interaction. Looking to apply depth and breadth of experience to a cutting edge company to revolutionize design, robotics and manufacturing related industries.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture Cambridge, MA
2011- 2016 - Doctor of Philosophy - Architecture: Design and Computation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture Cambridge, MA
2008 -2010 - Master of Science in Architecture Studies - Design and Computation Group
University of Minnesota, College of Design Minneapolis, MN
1999-2004 - Bachelor of Science in Architecture
Interactive Design Cognition
2015-2016 - PhD Dissertation Research Project – Behaviors of experienced designers, novice designers, and non-designers (17 total) were videotaped while playing with special 3D printed blocks to complete various open- and closed-ended tasks. Their interactions are formalized according to various types of physical engagements with the blocks and the world. Experienced designers were observed to behave uniquely suggesting the possibility of transferring knowledge through robotic design aids.
Physical Design Computing, Blocks World Redux, and Future Makers
2014-2015 - Project Lead – Through these 3 undergraduate research projects I have developed strategies to program a robotic arm with real-time motion control in dynamic environments. Design-supporting human-robotic interaction operations such mirroring, rotating, arraying, and flipping are being developed.
Taming the Wild Digitally Fabricated Singapore Horses MIT and SUTD
2014 - Project Lead - A pilot study in collaboration with computer science students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design to develop multi-axis digital-to-physical translation algorithms for automatically generating planar construction prototypes.
Mass Customization Study MIT Media Lab
2011-2012 - Project Co-Lead – A quantitative behavior experiment to study sustainability of mass customized products. Using embedded RFID tags and wireless receivers we collected daily data on dress shirt wearing patterns of 25 Boston area professionals over four months. The study framed sustainability in terms of usage rates comparing custom, standard, and mass-customized shirts.
CityHome and Home Genome Projects MIT Media Lab
2010-2012 - Project Designer and Team Lead - The CityHome was designed and partially prototyped to be a transformable apartment accommodating many different needs throughout the day. The Home Genome was an algorithm development project of an online feature-based recommendation engine for matching novice online apartment seeker’s needs with design solutions. Prototypes were tested in Cambridge area apartments.
innovation Teams: Shelter in a Box w/ MIT Sloan School of Management
2010 - Project Creator and Team Lead - First time the MIT Architecture Dept. has been involved with MIT Sloan course 15.371 Innovation Teams. My team and I transformed a building system technology into a marketable opportunity for customized disaster relief structures.
Physical Design Co. Start-up venture
2009-2010 - Co-Founder and CEO - In partnership with an MIT classmate, a Harvard Business School student, and a MIT Professor, I launched a start-up for mass customized easy to assemble backyard structures. Over the course of 1.5 years we developed a business model, financial plan, distributed manufacturing methods, and worked with 3 groups of VC investors.
Beta Fabricator Network MIT Design Computation Group
2009 - Master’s Thesis – I developed a 25-person online network of CNC fabricators across the world who participated in file sharing, fabrication, and product assembly experiments.
Digitally Fabricated Housing for New Orleans MoMA, NYC
2007-2008 - Project Designer and Manager - Under direction of Prof Larry Sass (PI) we designed, fabricated, and assembled one of five full scale houses exhibited on the MoMA's 2008 open lot exhibition in Midtown: Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling.
5 Year Full Research Assistant Tuition and Stipend Award ($350k)
Awarded by the SUTD-MIT International Design Center 2011-2016
PhD Research Workshop Participant SIGraDi Conference, Chile, 2013
Work selected for oral presentation by conference organizing committee
1.5 Year Full Research Assistant Tuition and Stipend Award ($90k)
Awarded by the MIT Department of Architecture 2009-2010
Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Award 2009
Digitally fabricated doghouse and kid’s playhouse
Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Award 2008
Digitally fabricated backyard shed
Smithwick, D., and Sass, L. (2014) Embodied Design Cognition: Action-based Formalizations in Architectural Design, International Journal of Architectural Computing, Issue 4, Vol 12, pp 399-417.
Sass, L. and Smithwick, D. (2013) Mass Customized Structures for Relief: Physical Production with Digital Fabrication” in Piller and Piroozfar (eds) Mass Customization and Personalization in Architecture and Construction, Routledge: New York.
Smithwick, D., Kirsh, D., and Sass, L. (2016). In Review, “Designerly Pick and Place: Coding material interaction in model making activity,” in Gero (ed) Proceedings from Design Computing and Cognition ‘16, Chicago.
Kirsh, D., and Smithwick, D. (2015). “Creativity and Phenomenal Stimulation,” Paper selected for presentation at the EuroAsianPacific Joint Conference on Cognitive Science, Torino, Italy.
Smithwick, D., and Kirsh, D. (2015). “Let’s Get Physical: Thinking with Things in Architectural Design.” Paper selected for poster presentation at 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Pasadena, CA.
Smithwick, D. (2015) “Interactive Design Cognition and Computation,” dissertation research poster selected for presentation at the SUTD-MIT International Design Centre 2015 Design Summit, Singapore.
Smithwick, D. and Sass, L. (2014). “Physical Design Cognition: Embodied Intelligence for Taming the Digitally Fabricated Singapore Horses,” in Gero (ed) Proceedings from Design Computing and Cognition ‘14, London, England.
Smithwick, D. and Sass, L. (2013). “Physical Design Cognition: A Non-symbolic Formalization for Performing Design Knowledge,” Proceedings from the Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics, Valparaiso, Chile, November 20-22.
Smithwick, D. and Sass, L. (2012). “Designing in HiFi: Digital Fabrication for Physical Computation.” Proceedings from the Iberoamerican Society of Digital Graphics, Fortaleza, Brazil, November 13-16, pg 622-624.
Smithwick, D. and Chin, R. (2011) “Smart Customization: The New Driver of Sustainability: A Case Study in Custom vs. Standard Men’s Dress Shirts,” Poster presented at MCPC 2011, Proceedings of the 6th International Conference. San Francisco, CA.
Smithwick, D. and Larson, K. (2010). “Home Genome Project: Customer Co-Design, A Design Search and Recommendation Engine.” Poster Presented at the Smart Customization Seminar, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA.
Chin, R. and Smithwick, D. (2009) “Environmental Impacts of Utilizing Mass Customization: Energy and Material Use of Mass Customization vs. Mass Production.” Presented at MCPC 2009, Proceedings of the 5th International Conference. Helsinki, Finland.
Smithwick, Daniel (2016). “Physical Design Cognition: an analytical study of exploratory model making to inform creative robotic interaction." Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Smithwick, Daniel (2009). “Architectural Design 2.0: An Online Platform for the Mass Customization of Architectural Structures.” S.M. Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Upcoming: MIT Course 4.511 Advanced Projects in Digital Fabrication
2015 Co-Instructor – Graduate level robotics milling and pick and place design processes
MIT Course 2.00b Toy Product Design Profs D Wallace and M Yang
2015 Team Leader – guiding MechE students through creative design project
MIT Workshop 4.553 How to Train your Robot
2015 Instructor – Robotic programming for pick and place assembly processes
MIT Course 4.500 Geometric Modeling Prof L Sass
2014 Module Instructor – Robotic programming for multi-axis milling
MIT Course MAS.552/4.557 Designing Resilient Cities Prof K Larson
2012 Teaching Assistant – Group leader for CityHome design and development
MIT Course MAS.552/4.557 MIT Living Labs Prof K Larson
2011 Teaching Assistant - Group leader for CityHome design and development
MIT Workshop 4.185 Architectural Design CityHome Prof K Larson
2011 Teaching Assistant
MIT Course 4.501 Architecture Computation and Construction Prof L Sass
2008 Teaching Assistant
MIT Undergraduate Research Supervisor, 2015
Jaguar Kristeller, Junior in Mechanical Engineering
Dana Gretton, Junior in Computer Science
Steven Homberg, Freshman in Mathematics and Computer Science
MIT 6.100 Student Independent Project Coordinator, 2014
Raghavasimhan Sankaranarayana, Computer Science (visiting student from India)
MIT Undergraduate Research Supervisor, 2014
Rachel Rotteveel, Junior in Computer Science
Kalin Malouf, Sophomore in Architecture
MIT Undergraduate Research Supervisor, 2011
Patrick Gichuiri, Junior in Computer Science
Dhruv Parthasarathy, Junior in Mathematics
Kevin Hsiue, Junior in Computer Science
Helen Driftmier, Sophomore in Media Studies (Wellesley student)
MIT Undergraduate Research Supervisor, 2010
JT White, Junior in Architecture (Wentworth student)
Heidi Ashley, Junior in Architecture
MIT-SUTD International Design Center
2015 Invited speaker – Let’s Get Physical: Thinking with things in Architectural design
MIT Smart Customization Seminar at the Media Lab
2012 Panel leader and seminar co-organizer – Digital Design and Fabrication Track
AARP Foundation Ideation Session on Housing – Washington DC
2011 Panel participant - Invited by VP of Housing to help integrate user design principles for future housing of aging populations
MIT Media Lab Sponsor Week: Workshops on Mass Customization
2011 Co-organizer – Leader of brainstorming sessions with 3 sponsor groups
MIT Smart Customization Seminar at the Media Lab
2010 Invited speaker – digital fabrication technologies for mass customized housing
Digital Design and Fabrtication Group – MIT International Design Center, Cambridge, MA
2012-Present Research Assistant
Changing Places Group – MIT Media Lab Cambridge, MA
2011-2012 Research Staff
Physical Design Co. Cambridge, MA
2009-2010 Co-Founder and CEO
Loom Studio Minneapolis, MN
2008 Designer and fabricator
Howeler + Yoon Architects Boston, MA
2006-2007 Designer and fabricator
Pompeii Architecture and Design NYC
Lightworks Minnneapolis, MN
Charles Levin Architects Minneapolis, MN
MIT Graduate Student Council
2015 Vice President of GSC summer term
MIT Committee on Graduate Programs
MIT Spring Career Fair
2014 Student volunteer
2014 Supervisor for Assistive Technologies Undergraduate Student Hackathon
“The Idea Factory,” by Gregory Malone, The Atlantic Magazine, Oct 2011
“Lab Report: Research of the Changing Places Group,” by Sherin Wing, Metropolis Magainze Oct 2011
“Friction Fit” in Ana Miljacki (ed.) Uncertain Futures: Two Years of Student Research at the MIT Department of Architecture,” SA+P Press, 2009
“Physical Design,” by Daniel Smithwick, ShopBot Web Columns, June 2009
“Dan and the Puzzle Houses,” by Chris Connors, Make Magazine, May 2009
“Interview: The Next Generation of Architectural Design: Daniel Smithwick from Physical Design Co.” by Frank Piller, Mass Customization and Open Innovation News, March 2009
“Next: A Snap-On Addition?” Journal of Light Construction, January 2009
Bergdoll, B., Christensen, P. and Broadhurst, R., Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, The Museum of Modern Art Press, NYC, 2008
“The Beast: Intermodal Transit Station,” in Alexander D’Hooghe (ed.) Certain Agendas in Architecture: One Year of Student Research at MIT’s Dept of Architecture, SA+P Press, 2007
Management Effective team leadership
Hiring Strong communication with diverse backgrounds
Report writing and Technical Documentation
CAD Rhino & AutoCAD
CAM KUKA Robotics, Multi-axis CNC Milling, general shop tools & safety
Programming Grasshopper, Processing, Python, Scratch
Graphic Design Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
Animation/ Rendering/Movie 3D Max, Flash, Premier