My research interest is in architecting sensor systems for fundamental scientific inquiry. I serve as a bridge between technologists and physical scientists, advancing unconventional instrumentation from concept study to prototype.
I am currently pursuing a PhD in the Responsive Environments Group at the MIT Media Lab. The technical emphasis of my doctoral degree (2016-present) straddles astrophysics, distributed sensing, and electronic textile design - I am turning spacecraft thermal blankets into large field-of-view cosmic dust detectors using sensors that can be woven into fabrics. And I'm bringing electronic textile techonology to Low Earth Orbit for the first time! Check out our Dec. 2021 feature article in IEEE Spectrum Magazine.
I am also interested in human sensory augmentation. For example, my Master's thesis at the Media Lab (2014-2016) included Quantizer, a platform that enabled artists to map real-time physics data from the ATLAS detector at CERN to musical streams for public listening. For a number of months, it became possible to hear artistically rendered proton and heavy ion collisions in real-time. This project was featured in Nature Physics Books/Art, Popular Science, Engadget, and Smithsonian Mag.
Previously, I earned a B.A. in physics at Harvard University with a minor in computer science (2009-2013). I have also completed internships in physics (the ATLAS experiment at CERN), aerospace engineering (Made in Space, MIT Aero/Astro) and design/innovation (IDEO CoLab, Microsoft).
(Winter, 2021/2022: This website remains a work in progress. It's also not currently available on mobile.)Contact: cherston[at]mit[dt]edu