Ted Selker

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Edwin Joseph Selker, better known as Ted Selker, is an American computer scientist known for his user interface inventions.


Selker graduated from Brown University in 1979 with a BS in Applied Mathematics, and from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with an MS in Computer and Information Sciences in 1981. From June 1981 to 1983 he worked as research assistant in the Stanford University, Robotics Laboratory. One of his projects was a collaborative display system for the WAITS system of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL).[1] He worked for Atari for a year, then returned to Stanford to teach for a year.[2]

Selker joined IBM in August 1985, first at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center. He graduated with a PhD from City University of New York in 1992. His thesis was titled "A Framework for Proactive Interactive Adaptive Computer Help". He then moved to the IBM Almaden Research Center where he founded and directed the User Systems Ergonomics Research lab. He was made an IBM Fellow in 1996. Selker holds 57 US patents.[2] He developed a prototype into the pointing stick (known as TrackPoint) technology[3][4] which are the distinctive feature of the ThinkPad line of laptop computers (designed, developed and sold by IBM but produced by Lenovo since 2005).

Selker joined the MIT faculty in November 1999. He headed the Context Aware Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab and was the MIT director of The Voting Technology Project and Design Intelligence. From June to August 2011 he was the Director of Research at start-up Scanadu. Scanadu aims to turn smart phones into medical monitoring devices.

He has taught at Stanford University, Hampshire College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Brown University and consulted at Xerox PARC. His work often takes the form of bleeding edge prototype concept products, for example hybrid search engines, and is supported by cognitive science research into human computer interaction.[2]

He is regarded as a pioneer in the field of context awareness and has been cited in the media. Selker's technologies have been featured on Good Morning America, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, the BBC, NPR, and the Discovery channel among others. He was co-recipient of computer science policy leader award for Scientific American 50 in 2004. In June 2008 he moved to Palo Alto, California, and is married with two children. He became associate director of mobility research at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley.[5] He advocates a model of innovation that he calls Excubation.[6][7]


  1. ^ Voy Wiederhold, Martin Frost and Les Earnest (January 2002). "SAIL computer Lab display". Stanford Infolab. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ted Selker". Personal web site. MIT Media Lab. June 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ Edwin J. Selker and Joseph D. Rutledge. Patent US 5521596  "Analog input device for a computer." Applied , Filed May 29, 1992 issued May 28, 1996.
  4. ^ Mathew F. Cali, Jerome J. Cuomo, Donald J. Mikalsan, Joseph D. Rutledge, Edwin J. Selker. Patent US 5489900  "Force sensitive transducer for use in a computer keyboard" Filed June 3, 1994, issued February 6, 1996.
  5. ^ "Ted Selker, Associate Director, CyLab Mobility Research Center". Faculty bio. Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Excubate: A new model of new technology business development". Stanford University Seminar on Computer Systems video. Stanford University. October 28, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Excubate: A new model of new technology business development". Human Computer Interaction Institute. Carnegie Mellon University. October 28, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 

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