This was an experiment conducted by Dr Giovanni Birindelli in ETH Zurich during the years 2007-2009. Its results can be seen here.

What is interesting about mt_EAST is that it relies on remote collaboration intended here as a cooperative work over distance between relatively small groups of two to three students from each participating institute. This was achieved through remote collaboration and remote seminars. In the first case students met online for 45 to 60 minutes each week and discussed their project. According to Birindelli:

The personal distance between partners enables students to present professional and constructive criticism, as well as to develop a subject-specific language

The online seminars on the other hand aimed at denoting a new type of educational forum in which “multiple students are able to receive the support of a docent through the help of an electronic table.”

Despite the noble act to introduce remote collaboration, the high end e-table used and the related software (though Marratech is no longer available) make it difficult for other institutions to follow. Nevertheless, this was an important step in recognizing the need to incorporate technology features in a design studio and making students from different institutions work together online. If you think about it, this was never about the e-table afterall.


  • Birindelli, G., “Learning in Distances” lecture, available here
  • Birindelli, G., “mt_EAST: e_ teamwork GUIDE”, available here


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