David L. Rose

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David L. Rose
DavidRose 1 (cropped).jpg
Rose in 2018
Born (1967-02-19) February 19, 1967 (age 51)
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
ResidenceBoston, MA
EducationSt. Olaf College
Harvard University
OccupationVP Vision Technology at Warby Parker
Known forInteractive internet development

David Rose (born February 19, 1967) is an award-winning product designer, entrepreneur, and lecturer at the MIT Media Lab. David is on a mission to make technology subtle and polite; to dissolve into the fabric of the everyday. In his book, Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things, he focuses on the future of the Internet of Things, and how these technologies will impact the ways we live and work. As VP of Vision Technology at Warby Parker, David is currently reinventing vision tests to make them more accessible and convenient. David's work has been featured at the MoMA, covered in The New York Times, WIRED, The Economist, and parodied on the Colbert Report.

Early life[edit]

David Rose was born on February 19, 1967 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina when his father, James Rose, was in medical school.

Rose graduated from Madison West High School in Madison, Wisconsin in 1985. He obtained a BA in Physics and Fine Arts from St. Olaf College in 1989. He then went on to earn his Masters from Harvard University, focusing on technology in education, graduating in 1992.[1]

Rose lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife and two children. His home was featured in a video by The New York Times titled "The Internet of Things."


Rose founded the company Interactive Factory in 1992 following several years of working as a software engineer in speech recognition and robotics. Interactive Factory, now iFactory, a division of RDW Group, is a boutique design firm specializing in digital and interactive media.[citation needed]

After Interactive Factory's acquisition in 1997, Rose patented the first online photo sharing service and founded Opholio.[2] The start-up was bought by Flashpoint Technology in 1998 [3] and Rose went on to found Viant's Innovation Center, where he was director for four years.

In 2002, Rose co-founded Ambient Devices, a spin-off from the MIT Media Lab[4] and a pioneer in embedding Internet information in everyday objects.[5] The Ambient Orb was one of Rose's creations and a revolutionary ubiquitous computing device, providing real-time data to a user via a simple, color-changing interface.[6][7][8] Under his leadership, the company developed over a dozen internet-connected objects including the Ambient Umbrella, the Ambient Dashboard, 5-day Weather Forecaster, and the Energy Joule.

In 2008, Rose founded Vitality, a high-tech healthcare start-up. At Vitality, he conceived of and led the development of the GlowCap – the first cellular-connected pill cap.[9] The product was a recipient of the 2010 Medical Design Excellence Awards and continues to be cited for its success in patient compliance.[10] GlowCap is now distributed by companies like CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and Express Scripts. The GlowCap was parodied on The Colbert Report[11] and featured in the Talk to Me exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).[12] Vitality was sold to biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong in 2011 and rolled into his NantHealth business.[13]

Rose is the founder and CEO of Ditto Labs, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based start-up focused on image-recognition software.[14] From CrunchBase, "Ditto Labs was first-to-market with a dashboard tool to help top brand marketers derive insights, prospect audiences, and measure campaigns from what appears in social media photos. Ditto’s patented machine learning and computer vision capability is integrate with a majority of enterprise social listening platforms. Now brands can holistically analyze campaign performance and consumer sentiment by incorporating text with visual signals of affinity.

Ditto's "vision-as-a-service” products also help travel and hospitality sites improve click through rates by surfacing the most persuasive user-generated photos. Ditto's APIs also enable housing and car sites to better organize, screen and rate user photos to improve site performance.

Independently verified, Ditto's computer vision has higher accuracy and a broader catalog of relevant classifiers than competitors. Ditto is the only company enabling clients to train bespoke classifiers to recognize what is most important to their business needs." [15]

In August 2014, it was announced that Ditto Labs would form a deal with Tumblr. "Right now, we're not planning to do anything ad-related," stated T.R. Newcomb, head of business development at Tumblr. Ditto's data will be available to advertisers who want to see how they are perceived on the platform.[16]

In July 2014, Rose published a book about the Internet of Things, Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things.[17] In the book, Rose argues that the cell phone monopolizes attention and that there is an opportunity to unglue society from these screens by spreading apps into every day objects like clothing, jewelry, and rooms.[18]

Recent work[edit]

In October 2017, Rose completed a short project as a Futurist in Residence at IDEO where he worked with a team to design and prototype gestural based-interactions. He developed technology that allows users to wave the internet of things rather than speak to them. Thanks to advanced computer vision, voice triggers (like “Ok Google,” “Hey Siri,” or “Alexa") are not our only—or best—option. With neural nets, new depth-sensing cameras are able to recognize people, activities, and gestures from afar. They can not only be able to read what is in the scene, but also create a point cloud or depth map of who is there, how they are posing, and how they are moving. As part of the project, Rose filmed dancers, American Sign Language teachers, mimes, and an orchestra conductor to learn about the power and expressiveness of subtle gesture.

Rose is the VP of Vision Technology at Warby Parker where he's re-inventing vision tests to make them more accessible and convenient. He is a senior lecturer atr the MIT Media Lab where he has worked with the Tangible Media and City Science groups.


  1. ^ Regan, Keith (11/18/2011). “MHT All Star: David Rose.” Boston Business Journal. Retrieved online March 11, 2014.
  2. ^ Dishman, Lydia (2/21/14). "Ditto Labs is Looking to Mine Brand Insights from Your Shared Photos." Fast Company. Retrieved online March 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Tong, Kathryn (6/15/2000). “Opholio Inc. Acquired by California Firm.” The Boston Globe. Retrieved online via HighBeam Research March 11, 2014.
  4. ^ MIT Media Lab Web site. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  5. ^ Regan, Keith (11/18/2011). “MHT All Star: David Rose.” Boston Business Journal. Retrieved online March 11, 2014.
  6. ^ Feder, Barnaby J. (6/10/2003). "Glass That Glows and Gives Stock Information." The New York Times. Retrieved online March 23, 2014.
  7. ^ Compton, Julie (8/21/2006). “The Ambient Orb: Striving for a PC-Free Tomorrow.” Yahoo! Voices. Retrieved online March 13, 2014.
  8. ^ Felberbaum, Michael (4/16/2004). “Future of ‘glanceable’ technology glows.” Associated Press. Retrieved online via USA Today March 14, 2014.
  9. ^ Furchgott, Roy (4/1/2009). "It's Your Lipitor on Line Two." The New York Times. Retrieved online April 15, 2014.
  10. ^ Sutter, John D. (8/13/2010). "Tech guilt: 5 'persuasive' technologies to help you be good." CNN. Retrieved online April 15, 2014.
  11. ^ “Cheating Death - Clenched Fingers & Pill Reminder" The Colbert Report. Host and prod., Stephen Colbert. Comedy Central. March 18, 2010
  12. ^ Antonelli, Paola. "GlowCap." Museum placard. Talk to Me. MoMA, New York, NY. July 24-November 7, 2011. Retrieved online March 23, 2014.
  13. ^ Kirsner, Scott (2-2-2011). “LA’s richest man buys Cambridge start-up that sells intelligent pill packaging.” Boston.com. Retrieved online March 15, 2014.
  14. ^ Dishman, Lydia (2/21/14). "Ditto Labs is Looking to Mine Brand Insights from Your Shared Photos." Fast Company. Retrieved online March 23, 2014.
  15. ^ "Ditto Labs". Crunchbase. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  16. ^ Wasserman, Todd. "Tumblr Partner Will Now Scan Photos for Clues About Brand Affiliation". Mashable. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  17. ^ Petroski, Henry (7/18/14). "Book Review: 'Enchanted Objects' by David Rose." The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved online August 14, 2014.
  18. ^ “August 26, 2014 - David Rose" The Daily Show. Host and prod., Jon Stewart. Comedy Central. August 26, 2014

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