Season 2 Episode 3 – Will Langford: Machines That Make Machines

Plus Jake Read on making modular and reconfigurable CNC machines

The worst thing to happen to computer science was computer science. It's like divorcing computer science from the physical world.
-Will Langford referencing a Neil Gershenfield comment


In this episode, we speak with Will Langford, an engineer and researcher at the Center for Bits and Atoms. CBA – a part of MIT — is an interdisciplinary initiative exploring the boundary between computer science and physical science. The researchers at CBA study how to turn data into things and things into data. Recursion and abstraction are common themes. And even though all of this is a mouthful, there’s a more straightforward initiative behind all of their work. It’s one that we can all get behind: engineering a more universal set of tools and lowering the barrier of entry to making.




Will Langford is a fifth-year graduate student in the Center for Bits and Atoms. His primary research focus surrounds Digital Materials and Assemblers, and his current work looks to assemble robotic (rather than electronic) structures from two-dimensional parts where each part embodies a single functional behavior (e.g., actuation, flexure, logic). Will has deployed fablabs in Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Rwanda, and Bhutan.