Dr. Knowlton remained at Bell Labs till 1982, experimenting with every part from computer-generated music to applied sciences that allowed deaf folks to learn signal language over the phone. He later joined Wang Laboratories, the place, within the late-Eighties, he helped develop a private laptop that permit customers annotate paperwork with synchronized voice messages and digital pen strokes.
In 2008, after retiring from tech analysis, he joined a magician and inventor named Mark Setteducati in creating a jigsaw puzzle known as Ji Ga Zo, which could possibly be organized to resemble anybody’s face. “He had a mathematical mind combined with a great sense of aesthetics,” Mr. Setteducati stated in a cellphone interview.
In addition to his son Rick, Dr. Knowlton is survived by two different sons, Kenneth and David, all from his first marriage, which led to divorce; a brother, Fredrick Knowlton; and a sister, Marie Knowlton. Two daughters, Melinda and Suzanne Knowlton, additionally from his first marriage, and his second spouse, Barbara Bean-Knowlton, have died.
While at Bell Labs, Mr. Knowlton collaborated with a number of well-known artists, together with the experimental filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek, the pc artist Lillian Schwartz and the electronic-music composer Laurie Spiegel. He noticed himself as an engineer who helped others create artwork, as prescribed by Mr. Rauschenberg’s E.A.T. challenge.
But later in life he started creating, displaying and promoting artwork of his personal, constructing conventional analog photographs with dominoes, cube, seashells and different supplies. He belatedly realized that when engineers collaborate with artists, they grow to be greater than engineers.
“In the best cases, they become more complete humans, in part from understanding that all behavior comes not from logic but, at the bottommost level, from intrinsically indefensible emotions, values and drives,” he wrote in 2001. “Some ultimately become artists.”