Sophia Brueckner, born in Detroit, MI, is a designer, artist, and engineer. Inseparable from computers since the age of two, she believes she is a cyborg. She received her Sc.B. in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from Brown University. As a software engineer at Google, she worked on the front-end development and interface design of products used by tens of millions and later on experimental projects within Google Research.
Brueckner earned her MFA in Digital + Media at the Rhode Island School of Design where she explored the simultaneously empowering and controlling aspects of technology, particularly within user experience design and computer programming, through her artwork. As a researcher at the MIT Media Lab in the Fluid Interfaces Group, she combined the understanding that interfaces structure thought processes with ideas from cognitive behavioral therapy to design and build interactive devices for mental health.
Brueckner feels an urgency to understand and raise awareness of technology’s controlling effects, and to encourage the ethical and thoughtful design of new technologies. To do so, she teaches Science Fiction to Science Fabrication, a course combining science fiction and invention. Since 2011, she taught multiple versions of the class to students and researchers at MIT, Harvard, RISD, and Brown. Both the class itself as well as the students’ individual projects received international recognition and were featured by Smithsonian Magazine, The Atlantic, Studio 360, Scientific American, Fast Company, and many others.
Brueckner’s work has been exhibited internationally including the Peabody Essex Museum, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and the Leaders in Software and Art Conference in New York, and she is a Fellow at the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values. She is especially interested in the application of embodied cognition to interaction design, wearable technology, digital fabrication, generative systems, sound, and, as a technology antidote, painting. Her ongoing objective is to meaningfully combine her background in interaction design and engineering with the perspective of an artist to create new technologies in the service of mental and physical well-being.