Dan is currently pursuing his PhD degree in Media Arts and Sciences. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences in May 2003, and his S.M in Media Arts and Sciences in 2005. He has been developing animatronic creatures since high school, and has attended the Make-up Designory summer school for special make-up effects and the McGlaughlin Productions Silicone Master Class to develop his skills in sculpting, molding, casting silicone skins, finishing, and developing the underlying mechanics. His current research interests involve developing sensate skins for robots and applying this technology to create robotic companions, such as the Huggable, that understand social-affective touch interactions for therapeudic applications. Other applications for the Huggable include serving as a robotic communication avatar for distance learning applications for early education.