Matt Ratto Director, Associate Professor

Matt Ratto received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego in 2003, writing his dissertation on the social organization of the Linux development community. Following this, he completed a 2 year post-doc at the Netherlands Institute for Scientific Information (NIWI) and in 2005 helped create the Virtual Knowledge Studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences in Amsterdam (VKS-KNAW). In 2005, he was awarded a Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO) grant to study the use of computer simulation and modeling technologies in Archaeology and in 2007 was given a 1 year fellowship in the HUMlab, an innovative digital humanities laboratory located at the University of Umea, Sweden. He moved to the University of Toronto in 2008.

Matt is the director of the Critical Making lab at the University of Toronto. This facility provides students and faculty researchers with basic electrical, craft, and computing equipment that can be used to design, develop, and explore material fabrication and technical prototyping.

Matt is also the director of the Designing Digital Media for the Internet of Things consortium, a private-public-academic consortium interested in investigating, exploring, and building capacity around new developments in tangible interfaces, smart objects, and digital infrastructures. Departing from the traditional model of the hackerspace, DDiMIT is an “digital economy trading zone”, a virtual and physical space where Ontario companies, academic institutions, and community organizations can leverage their joint knowledge and skills in order to support each other in doing novel research, creating innovative products and services, and fostering creative and engaging work in the Internet of Things.


News & Updates


Matt Ratto speaks to Senate of Canada by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Mar 12th, 2017

Matt Ratto was invited to speak to the Senate of Canada’s Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology regarding the role of robotics, 3D...

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Matt Ratto speaks at Cybera cyber summit in Banff by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Nov 24th, 2016

"The Cyber Summit provides a unique opportunity to engage with like-minded technology leaders in Western Canada’s public and education spaces"

Matt Ratto spoke at the Cybera Cyber Summit, which was held at the Banff Centre on October 26-28, 2016. His talk, abstract below,...

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Nia Technologies brings 3D prosthetic printing to developing countries by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Apr 21st, 2016

Working to establish expertise in developing countries

U of T News - "According to the World Health Organization, approximately 30 million people in low-income countries require prosthetic limbs, braces or other assistive...

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Semaphore congratulates Dr. ginger coons, PhD! by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Oct 26th, 2015

Semaphore's first PhD graduate

Congrats to ginger coons, PhD! Dr coons defended her dissertation, "Something for everyone: Using digital methods to make physical goods" on October 23rd. Her defense...

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Nia and Vorum partner to deliver 3D-printed prosthetics to children in developing countries by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Apr 8th, 2016

Vorum provides software to help Nia Technologies boost output of overtaxed orthopaedic technologists

Canadian non-profit social enterprise Nia Technologies will integrate Vorum’s CanfitTM 3D design software into its 3D PrintAbility solution. 3D PrintAbility is...

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The Darker Side of 3D Printing by Phoenix Wilkie

Posted on Dec 15th, 2015

An article written by Rowena McGowan in The University of Toronto Musings

3D printing is just what it sounds like - printing 3-dimensional objects. An object is built up through the laying down of thousands of thin...

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Matt Ratto interviewed about IoT by Phoenix Wilkie

Posted on Dec 7th, 2015

Matt Ratto speaks to Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP about the Internet of Things

Matt Ratto gives an introduction to the Internet of Things to provide insight...

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Accessibili-UT Showcase by Phoenix Wilkie

Posted on Dec 3rd, 2015

Celebrating the research community's work in accessibility

On Monday, November 30th, PhD Candidate Daniel Southwick (Faculty of Information) and Research Associate Josh Qua Hiansen (Semaphore) attended "Accessibili-UT," an afternoon event designed to...

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Matt Ratto and printAbility at TEDxUofT by Asiya Atcha

Posted on May 7th, 2014

Without a leg to stand on -- 3D printing prosthetics: Matt Ratto at TEDxUofT

Matt Ratto is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University...

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printAbility Project on the BBC by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Feb 9th, 2015

Prosthetic limbs made by U of T researchers

BBC News (Health) - Catherine Byaruhanga reports from Uganda.

Click here for the full video.

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printAbility Project in Uganda by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Feb 17th, 2015

Semaphore's researchers provide world’s first functional 3D-printed prosthetic legs to Ugandans

CBC News - Canadian researchers and a 3D printer are making medical history in Uganda.

The Canadian team from the University of Toronto recently helped...

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Semaphore Researchers Partner with ROM for Wildlife Photography Exhibit by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jan 28th, 2015

Turning 2D photos into 3D models

Researchers at the Faculty of Information are experimenting with 3D design and printing to create interactive museum artifacts for non-sighted visitors. Making 2D photographs "come...

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printAbility Team featured on CBC by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jan 15th, 2015

A University of Toronto professor is teaming up with an international charity and a hospital in Uganda to use 3D...

Click here for the full article.

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Matt Ratto and PrintAbility project in The Toronto Star by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jan 9th, 2015

U of T researchers and a Canadian charity are teaming up to train Ugandan technicians to 3D-print artificial limb sockets

Matt Ratto, an associate professor at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information, is a big believer in the Chinese proverb: “Give a man a...

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Inside the 3D Printed Limb Factory by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Dec 8th, 2014

Making the fake parts is easy, but getting these limbs in the right hands takes a cultural, not just a...

FAST COMPANY - Inside the University of Toronto's brutalist concrete library, there is a room filled with human limbs. Not real limbs, but 3-D-printed lower-leg prosthetics....

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Matt Ratto at MIT - Learning to Make :: Making to Learn by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Nov 10th, 2014

Matt Ratto spoke at the MIT Dept of Architecture, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014

Semaphore’s own Matt Ratto spoke at the MIT Department of Architecture on Friday November 14th, 2014, as part of the Computation Group Lecture...

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Artificial limbs from the 3D printer by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Aug 6th, 2014

Matt Ratto discusses the PrintAbility project with The Frankfurter Allgemaine

Künstliche Gliedmaßen aus dem 3D-Drucker

FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE - Justine musste fast ihr ganzes, noch nicht allzu langes Leben ohne Beine auskommen. Sie hatte sie kurz...

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Seeking University of Toronto Faculty to be Semaphore Affiliates by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Apr 15th, 2014

Seeking new faculty affiliates from University of Toronto St. George, Scarborough, and Mississauga campuses

The Semaphore Research Cluster on Mobile and Pervasive Computing seeks new faculty affiliates from University of Toronto St. George, Scarborough, and Mississauga campuses. We are...

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Using 3-D printing to address the need for prosthetics in Uganda by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jan 18th, 2014

Easy-to-use 3-D scanning and printing technology would enable quick creation of a large pool of people capable of generating prosthetic...

WASHINGTON POST - "There’s a striking lack of individuals in the developing world who are capable of making good prosthetic limbs. The World Health Organization...

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Toronto professor turns to 3-D printing to help Ugandan child amputees by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jan 18th, 2014

“The model is printed on a hobbyist level 3-D printer. A key part of this is to keep cost down,”...

THE GLOBE AND MAIL - A University of Toronto professor has teamed up with an international charity and a hospital in Uganda to try to...

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U of T team works to create 3D-printed limbs for Ugandan children by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jan 17th, 2014

As Christina Stevens reports, the limbs are transforming lives a world away.

GLOBAL NEWS – "Consumer-grade 3D printers have been used to create everything from guns to edible candy; but a team at the University of Toronto...

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Dreaming in 3D by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Dec 12th, 2013

Matt Ratto of the University of Toronto’s Critical Making Lab brings 3-D printing down to earth

INNOVATION.CA - "While 3-D printing is not a new technology, the development of smaller, and cheaper, machines now allows people to buy a compact consumer...

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Is it just us, or are cool things coming out of University of Toronto these days? by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Aug 7th, 2013

In early July, Matt Ratto, director of U of T’s Critical Making Lab, along with Daniel Southwick and ginger coons,...

POST CITY - "There must be something in the U of T water. Recently, not one but two teams of innovators made headlines thanks to...

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U of T team’s DIY handgun tests the potential of 3D printing by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jul 3rd, 2013

When asked how police could stop people from printing handguns in their basement, Dr. Ratto’s response was curt: “They can’t.”

THE GLOBE AND MAIL - "It’s a pistol that sounds like a criminal’s dream. Undetectable, untraceable by police and assembled in downtown Toronto, it’s a...

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TAGLab visits Semaphore by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jun 15th, 2013

On June 13th, 2013 the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab (TAGlab) paid a visit to Semaphore. Over the hour-long lunch meeting, both labs...

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Critical Making Lab members participate in Enactive Entanglements by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jun 14th, 2013

Matt Ratto and his team produced an impressive single-take video featuring a tour of the Critical Making Lab, introductions to...

The Critical Making Lab participated in 'Enactive Entanglements', an event organized by Katrina Jungnickel at Goldsmiths University of London (UK). Matt Ratto,...

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MaRS Innovation on The Agenda's 3D Printing Episode by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jun 7th, 2013

MI’s Fanny Sie and Shotlst Co-founder Matt Ratto talk bioprinting, healthcare, civil rights and home manufacturing with Steve Paikin

MaRS INNOVATION - "The Agenda’s 3D printing episode also included a second segment exploring its implications for home manufacturing and civil liberties. The guests included...

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Matt Ratto on The Agenda With Steve Paikin by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jun 6th, 2013

Matt Ratto discusses "The Liberator," a 3D-printed gun

TV ONTARIO -  "Can gun control and other prohibitions against certain objects even exist in a world in which every home is a micro-factory? Cody...

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Looking into the Future with Matt Ratto by Amy Ratelle

Posted on May 29th, 2013

An interview with Matt Ratto

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO - University of Toronto Professor Matt Ratto first realized the connection between technology and society when he was young. Really...

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Blind Tennis Hackathon by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Nov 11th, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2013
10:00am - 4:00pm, 130 St. George Street, Semaphore Lab Demo room 1150 (main floor)


This workshop is ideal for anyone...

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Matt Ratto and Semaphore Featured on The Nature of Things (Oct. 23) by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Oct 21st, 2014

Today, scientists are applying 3D printing technology to the field of medicine

CBC - "We live in a world where technology is constantly changing. Sadly you know as you leave the store, that your brand new SmartPhone...

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Dance of the 3D Printers by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Oct 10th, 2014

3D Printers at the Critical Making Lab

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Matt Ratto on 3D printing, quoted in New Scientist by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Oct 3rd, 2014

"3D printing is only good to produce objects that are really one-offs," says Matt Ratto of the University of Toronto...

NEW SCIENTIST - IF YOU print it, they will come. Last summer, two surfers wanted to film themselves in the waves, so they headed...

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Scanning, modelling & printing—An experimental toolchain for prosthetics by ginger coons

Posted on Sep 6th, 2014

First event in the Critical Making Lab Workshop Series uses desktop fabrication tools to make custom prostheses.

"Scanning, modelling & printing—An experimental toolchain for prosthetics," the first workshop in the Critical Making Lab Workshop Series, will take place Thursday, the 18th of...

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Critical Making Workshop Series kicks off by ginger coons

Posted on Sep 5th, 2014

New workshop series involves students, public, in Critical Making Lab research

This year, the Critical Making Lab is offering a series of workshops, open to both students and the public. The Critical Making Workshop Series showcases...

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Interview with Matt Ratto - Internet of things: More things connected to World Wide Web by Amy Ratelle

Posted on Jul 30th, 2014

Matt Ratto talks Internet of Things on Canada AM

CANADA AM - Matt Ratto speaks about the Internet of Things. To view the video, click here.

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