Smart Machines


The Computer Museum




Boston, MA



In 1987, The Computer Museum opened the 4,000-square-foot Smart Machines exhibit, its largest at the time. The exhibit’s theme spoke directly to Michael’s early fascination with computers and the team was “determined to convey to our visitors the tremendous sophistication of the human mind and body, as well as some of the difficulties scientists face in their attempts to replicate even the simplest of human activities.”

Oliver Strimpel, Executive Director at the time, recounts hiring Michael in the Summer/Fall 1987 TCM Report: “We hired the office of Michael Sand, Inc., to design the exhibit. They transformed our ideas into a floor plan and a physical display system and also provided ideas for making the exhibit more inviting.” The effort to get the space ready for launch was herculean: “Indeed, almost every member of the Museum staff and Michael Sand’s office joined in the construction effort.”

From a 2002 portfolio package for Michael’s firm, Rare Media, Well Done, Inc.:

“Working closely with the Museum’s in-house staff, Sand designed the original installation of ‘Smart Machines,’ the only full-scale permanent exhibition in the world devoted solely to the intriguing fields of robotics and artificial intelligence. Since the gallery’s opening in 1987, over a million people enjoyed its interactive exhibits and robot theater. Smart Machines was one of the Museum’s most popular exhibits because it addressed questions that captured the imagination: Can machines think like us? Can they move and act like us? The gallery focused on key aspects of human intelligence in such areas as games, creativity, problem-solving, and communications, as well as sensing and robotic movement.”