Research Fellow, the Surgical Planning Laboratory
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
I design and develop visual displays and interfaces for
complicated information and processes used in analysis, evaluation,
communication and artistic expression. I work on: developing content, visual design,
interaction and interfaces that help people understand and use tools and information.
I'm also interested in the application of creative design and new technologies
to inform and engage communities and to address challenges in developing and underserved communities.
Wendy Plesniak is a Research Fellow at the Surgical
Planning Lab (SPL) at Brigham and Women's Hospital where she works on the design and
display of medical imaging data and on user-centered interface and interaction design for
the 3D Slicer project, as part of the
Center (NAC), the National Alliance for Medical
Image Computing (NA-MIC), the National Center for
Image Guided Therapy (NCIGT) and the Biomedical Informatics
Research Network (BIRN) efforts. She is also involved in the QueryAtlas
project, an atlas-based query and visualization tool for neuroscience researchers.
Throughout her career, Plesniak has
blended creative and technical pursuits, often at the interface between people and interactive systems.
She has developed new methods
for computing holograms for the MIT MarkII holovideo display system,
and co-developed the first interactive haptic hologram. She was named a World Technology
Network Fellow in 2006, and has also been a
Research Fellow and a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Media Laboratory. Plesniak
co-founded Carnegie Mellon University's Studio for Creative Inquiry, a research center for experimental
multidisciplinary art, and was a faculty member at CMU's College
of Fine Arts. She is a co-founder of ThinkCycle.org and the DesignThatMatters.org,
web-based efforts to collaboratively address challenges in underserved
communities and developing countries. She holds a PhD and MS from
MIT, and a BSEE and BFA from Carnegie Mellon.
RESEARCH AND CREATIVE
GUI and GUI layer architecture design: At
BWH/Harvard, I'm working on several aspects of version 3.0 of 3D Slicer, an open source medical
image analysis and visualization software package. In this work, I'm redesigning and implementing
the main application interface and interaction , designing application icons , working with users and developers to design the interface to the Editor module (for defining and editing regions
of interest in volumetric data), the
GUI architecture and its interface to the application layer; leading a
user-centered design and usability effort , and
designing a new brand
and accompanying visual communication guidelines for the software package.
volume-series medical data: At
BWH/Harvard, I'm designing and building software for clinicians,
engineers and researchers to analyze and visualize functional MRI (fMRI) timeseries and
other high-dimensional medical image data.
computational holography: At the
MIT Media Lab, I experimented with
Reconfigurable Image Projection (RIP) holograms, a new and flexible technique
for generating computed holographic stereograms with higher spatial and angular resolution
than that of conventional steregrams, and with similar computational efficiency. Our preliminary
implementation of this algorithm on the MIT MarkII holographic video's PC-based compute architecture
achieved scene rendering, hologram computation and display update in less than a
second. In another new technique, called incremental
computing, I experimented with updating interference modeled
holograms incrementally and only in regions affected by scene changes.
haptic holography: In three experiments
(Touch, Lathe and Poke), haptics
and holograms were combined to provide colocated three-dimensional
force and visual images for a user to see, inspect or modify with
a hand-held haptic device (Sensable Technology's Phantom).
spatial display & interaction:
This previous work investigated the rendering
and spatial display of information and spatial interaction.
selected creative: Here is a brief
selection of design studies, contracts,
personal work, etc. which I update from time to time.
A list of selected publications can be found here.
International Human Rights Day: Worked with local organizations to
design brochures for annual community-wide public event in observance of
International Human Rights Day, Boston, December 2005, 2006.
ThinkCycle was originally conceived by a group of graduate students at the
MIT Media Lab (Nitin Sawhney, Yael Maguire, Saul Griffith, Ravi Pappu, and Wendy Plesniak)
as a way to harness the collective enthusiasm and
brainpower of academics, students, and experts all over the world
in solving challenges (such as clean water, inexpensive eye glasses,
and alternative energy sources) faced by underserved communities
and developing countries. The ThinkCycle database is an online collection of well-posed, unsolved
design challenges in development and sustainability proposed by NGOs
and community groups. ThinkCycle was nominated for a World Technology Award
in Social Entrepreneurship in 2006.
Design that Matters (DtM) was conceived as a curriculum testbed for Thinkcycle.
The original course, taught at the MIT Media Lab by graduate students,
focused on engineering design for specific well-posed challenges in developing
countries and underserved communities. I participated in the conceptual development
of this effort. Now a Massachusetts non-profit, DtM acts as bridge to bring
problems identified by NGOs and individual communities into the classroom for
university engineering and business students to address, and makes available curriculum
materials. Since its launch at MIT in 2000,
DtM has worked with over 300 university engineering and business students to develop
dozens of prototypes.
An Hour for Education: Asha is a non-profit, mostly student-run
organization whose mission is to catalyze socio-economic change
in India through the education of underprivileged children. Asha
provides scholarships to children from low income groups and supports
learning facilities and programs for disabled, underserved, abandoned
or abused children. I helped to design and implement a new web-based
fundraising campaign called Work An Hour For Education. This event,
now held annually, has helped raise upwards of $700,000 to date.