The NET website is part of a transmedia publication that includes a book, a poster, and web-enabled cell phones. The URLs in this section and in the studio section correspond to titles of essays in the book and in many cases have a direct connection to the book’s content.

A tool to explore the vocabulary of the new ecology of things.

Web-embedded footnotes to the printed essay create a bibliography of “thingness” and an introduction to the community of designers, technologists, artists, and scholars working on pervasive computing.

A discussion forum and conceptual framework for designers and technologists who wish to make meaningful interactions in the info-saturated networked world.

Another set of web-embedded footnotes traces stages in the development of the new ecology of things.

A few simple questions about talking shoes and social networks.

The future of design through the eyes of the Graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design.

An overview of the transmedia publication and the relationship between its parts.

The point of departure: in 2006, Bruce Sterling (the MDP’s visionary-in-residence), Phil van Allen, and Nik Hafermaas taught the NET Studio. Students used an alpha-version of Sun SPOTs — micro-scale networked computers — to create working prototypes and playful scenarios to envision the future articulated by Sterling in his book Shaping Things.

Videos show Bruce Sterling’s inaugural lecture launching the NET studio.

The NET studio was sponsored by Sun Microsystems Labs. The MDP partners with tech start-ups, established corporations, non-profit organizations, and foundations to explore emerging forms of interactive communication.

An introduction to the theme of “multimedia pedagogy,” inspired by the creative disruption used in the NET studio.

An ongoing collection of projects provoked by the new ecology of things.

An unconventional portfolio of student projects from the studio course. The display is the “live” version of the NET book jacket/poster.

The NET Lab is an ongoing series of projects exploring the New Ecology of Things. Much of this work is housed in an electronics and interaction workshop at Art Center’s south campus called appropriately the MDP NET Lab Alpha.

The NET Lab homepage with descriptions of ongoing projects.

NET Lab Connect is an open source software and hardware system developed by MDP Associate Professor Philip van Allen in collaboration with MOTO Design Group and Make Magazine.
Contact: vanallen at; mdpinfo at
Credits: Phil van Allen: Creative and editorial direction, writing, programming, interaction design; Anne Burdick, Creative and editorial direction, writing, editing, site design: Holly Willis: Creative consultant, writing, editing; Jamie Cavanaugh: web production; MDP student and alumni contributors: Adriana Parcero, Tina Park, Linda Yoon.
©2008 Media Design Program, Art Center College of Design (dh)