On Monday night, inside a rainbow-lit Kresge Auditorium, a capability crowd whooped and hollered and shook their pom-poms alongside to one of the vital anticipated exhibits of the 12 months: the ultimate scholar shows of two.009 (Product Engineering Processes).
Identified on campus as “two-double-oh-nine,” the favored fall semester course challenges groups of undergraduates over three months to design, construct, and draft a marketing strategy for a product prototype, which they then demo and pitch in entrance of a reside viewers, on MIT’s largest stage.
This 12 months, college students labored in considered one of seven groups, every represented by a coloration of the rainbow. Groups got $7,500, which they may put towards constructing, testing, and presenting their last prototype. This 12 months’s design theme, “Transfer!” impressed a kaleidoscope of concepts, together with a self-spooling firehose cleaner, a swim security wristband for teenagers, and a velocity management for handbook wheelchairs.
At Monday’s prototype launch occasion, groups took the stage one after the other, pitching their merchandise in opposition to elaborate backdrops and props tailor-made to showcase every prototype. Between shows, the viewers was handled to musical interludes by mechanical engineering college students and employees, the Mocha Strikes dance troupe, and the a capella group Resonance.
Within the spirit of this 12 months’s theme, temporary movies highlighted college students reflecting on the query, “What strikes you?” Many voiced frequent themes, together with “household and associates,” “creating new issues,” “pushing what’s attainable,” and the will to “make the world a little bit higher.”
As groups pitched to a full Kresge viewers, over 4,500 viewers watched the present reside on-line. The night’s occasions had been emceed by course co-instructors Ellen Roche, affiliate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, and Josh Wiesman, professor of entrepreneurship at Tufts College. Each Roche and Wiesman took over from professor of mechanical engineering David Wallace, who’s on sabbatical this 12 months and has taught 2.009 since 1995.
Following Wallace’s lead (and his signature high hat and tails), Roche and Wiesman donned a number of costumes as accents for every product as they launched groups to the stage by means of the night time.
“It takes a uniquely superb particular person to take a product from idea to completed prototype in solely three months,” Wiesman stated as he addressed each the viewers and the scholars. “Nearly all of shoppers solely ever work together with the shiny completed product. They by no means see the blood, the sweat, and the tears that went into your arduous work and designs. Nevertheless it’s this course of you went by means of that may show you how to create the subsequent game-changing product tomorrow.”
Saving fingers, vogue, and hearth
The night’s first pitch got here from the Gold Crew, with an illustration of SandStill, a design for a safer benchtop disc sander. College students identified that greater than 1,500 sander-related accidents happen in the US every year. To drive house this level, one workforce member tried to run a wooden block by means of a standard disc sander arrange onstage. Utilizing a scorching canine as a stand-in for his finger, the coed ran the meat too near the blade, with devastating outcomes for the wiener that drew delighted gasps from the group.
As a counterpoint, one other workforce member performed out the identical state of affairs with the workforce’s SandStill prototype, arrange subsequent to the standard sander. This time, when operating a scorching canine too near the blade, the sander immediately stopped, earlier than any harm was carried out. The important thing to the design is a second, lighter disc that spins subsequent to the standard heavy sanding disc and stops immediately when a contact sensor is activated. The workforce plans to accomplice with makerspaces and finally promote the sander to hobbyists and industrial outlets.
Transferring from the workbench to the runway, the second pitch was offered by the Inexperienced Crew, who rolled onstage with Determine, a design for a conveyable, packable model. Whereas conventional mannequins are monolith constructions which can be cumbersome to move, the workforce’s prototype can collapse like an accordion and match into an area as small as a carry-on suitcase.
The prototype resembles a standard model in type and firmness, and consists of an outer masking onto which tailors can pin clothes. This masking will be unzipped and folded up. The underlying construction, made out of concentric steel rings held along with Kevlar strings, can then be collapsed, as can the telescoping stand that shows the model. The workforce envisions the design could possibly be helpful for vogue designers, cosplayers, and costume designers who’re additionally frequent vacationers.
The Purple Crew was subsequent onstage with Hydros, a prototype for a self-spooling firehose cleaner. The product is designed to assist firefighters after a fireplace, as soon as they return to the station and have to wash their tools. Firefighters usually use brooms and water to clean off hoses, which might expose them to poisonous chemical compounds. The scholars’ resolution is designed to feed a firehose by means of a cleansing system powered by a fireplace truck’s water.
The prototype resembles a big field on a dolly. Round brushes, water, and cleaning soap nozzles are set contained in the field, whereas the surface consists of detergent and a water hookup that attaches to a fireplace truck. Simply above the field is a wheel that may be turned to tug a firehose up by means of the cleansing field, then round a spool, which might then be eliminated to return the clear hose to the truck. Although a firehose can weigh as much as 100 kilos, the power wanted to show the wheel is corresponding to turning a automobile steering wheel, because of the workforce’s gear system. The workforce hopes its prototype will scale back firefighters’ contact with cancer-causing residue.
The fitting stability
With its prototype, the Pink Crew aimed to serve two shoppers: conservationists and the animals they’re serving to to avoid wasting. The workforce’s product, Ashore, is a sand incubator that’s designed to rebalance the gender ratio of sea turtles. Sea turtle eggs that incubate in hotter sand have a tendency to supply extra females than males. With local weather change, sea turtle populations have tipped closely feminine, which has already confirmed a “catastrophic” imbalance in a number of turtle species.
The workforce’s prototype is a temperature-controlled incubator that resembles a delicate, hexagonal lidded field, the within of which is padded and insulated like a cooler. In turtle hatching season, conservationists would retrieve a cache of eggs and thoroughly place them within the cooler, cowl the lid, and bury the field within the sand. A tube operating up out of the field will be threaded to the floor, the place it may connect to a water pump that delivers cool water to the field’s outer layer, retaining the eggs at temperatures extra prone to produce males. The workforce hopes to accomplice with conservation teams in Florida, the place greater than 65,000 sea turtle nests are laid every year.
Conserving with the aquatic theme, the Blue Crew offered SpOtter, a prototype for a private swim security alert for teenagers. They opened with a startling statistic: Practically two-thirds of deadly youngster pool drownings happen in yard swimming pools. Extra troubling nonetheless: Most pool drownings are silent, as kids lack the air to name out for assist.
Enter SpOtter — a water-proof system that resembles an outsized wristwatch. The face of the watch is a small colourful field that magnetically attaches to the wristband. If in misery, a baby can rapidly pull the field off, which then bobs to the floor and emits a vibrant gentle and a loud beeping alert. The workforce confirmed a video of a kid volunteer demonstrating the system whereas swimming in a pool. The workforce says that with correct instruction for each youngsters and adults, SpOtter may assist forestall unintentional drownings within the 10.4 million yard swimming pools throughout the U.S.
Get a grip, on a roll
The Crimson Crew selected to revamp a instrument that’s used, typically with frustration, by the aged: the gripper. Typical long-handled, claw-like grippers require customers to take care of a continuing hand strain. However many aged individuals, and people with muscle problems, are unable to maintain a good and fixed grip. The workforce’s prototype, Grippi, goals to take the strain off, with a battery-powered, spring-loaded design.
The gripper’s pistol-like deal with features a button a person can press to regulate the opening and shutting of the claw. The deal with’s spring-loaded design permits the claw to take care of a continuing grip round an object, with out the necessity to apply additional strain. The surface of the claw has adhesive and magnets, which additionally can be utilized to retrieve objects. Crew members onstage demonstrated utilizing Grippi to choose up keys and a greenback invoice from the ground and a espresso mug from a excessive shelf. The workforce hopes that Grippi will help help the greater than 3 million individuals within the U.S. who expertise weak grip energy.
The ultimate pitch of the night time got here from the Orange Crew, which offered Argos, a velocity management for handbook wheelchairs. The workforce opened with an statement: “Typically, life strikes us downhill a little bit too rapidly.” To make their level, college students arrange a protracted ramp with a 5-degree incline. From the highest of the ramp, a workforce member rode a handbook wheelchair down the slope, choosing up velocity earlier than utilizing her fingers to gradual the chair’s wheels close to the underside.
After speaking with wheelchair customers, the workforce realized that controlling a chair down a slope will be troublesome and scary. To revive customers’ confidence, the workforce’s product is designed as a type of wheelchair cruise management. The system attaches to a chair’s wheels and makes use of a closed-loop suggestions of velocity sensing and braking to regulate the velocity of a chair downhill. In checks, the scholars discovered Argos saved a chair rolling downhill at 2.5 miles per hour; with out the attachment, the chair rolled at double the velocity. The workforce hopes the attachment will help thousands and thousands of wheelchair customers “roll with confidence.”
In closing, Roche and Wiesman thanked the many individuals behind the scenes, together with lab instructors, instructing assistants, employees members, technicians, mentors, and people who labored to supply the night time’s present. Lastly, they thanked the scholars.
“With out designers such as you, and your grit, perseverance, ardour, collaboration, and never-quit vitality, we might haven’t any merchandise, no medical units, no client packaged items,” Roche stated as she addressed the scholars. “We hope you’ll take the expertise of two.009 with you ahead in your careers, and have a newfound respect and appreciation for what it takes to create a very impactful product.”