2.009 Product Engineering Processes. A senior capstone class option for mechanical engineering students (aka gotta take one of them to graduate). The premise of this class is to ideate, design, build, and present a brand new product by the end of the semester.
1 Unifying theme. This year the theme was Danger, so there was a lot of really cool demos at the end.
8 Number of teams the class is divided into.
24.9 The average number of hours that students spend on this class a week, based on course reviews.
~150 Number of students in the class.
1,200 The number of people sitting in Kresge Auditorium during the live product launch, with thousands on a wait list to get tickets.
~40,000 The number of people watching the product launch webcast online.
Many Actual products, patents, and companies that have come out of 2.009. This class is as Real Life™ as it gets.
2.009 consumed a lot of my waking hours this fall. It’s hard enough to come up with a brand-new product idea. It’s even harder to build it. It’s even harder to make it work reliably enough to present live on-stage without a major catastrophe. And it’s hardest of all to do this in a single semester. However, I can honestly say that it was the most fun I’ve had as a student at MIT. I was on the Purple Team, and I am so incredibly proud of what we were able to build. Watching all of the presentations, it was obvious that all of the other teams felt the same way about their products, too. Since not everyone was able to watch live, I’m going to link videos of the final presentations and brochures for each of the teams, and add a few “insider scoop” comments.
Note on the final presentation video format- each team has an intro skit, and there was a live band that played a custom song for every. single. team. This is followed by a 7-minute presentation and a 3 minute Q and A session. Yeah, it was a long night.
Yellow Team- Manta Yellow started off the night with a literal *BANG*. Their product, Manta, is a man-overboard rescue system that fires ropes attached to flotation devices that encircle the person in the water and pull them back to safety. They literally fired it onstage in Kresge. Every spectator was given earplugs when they walked in.
Blue Team- Talon Blue made a knife that automatically retracts when it senses it has come in contact with something that it shouldn’t cut, i.e. you. They demonstrated it live on an actual hand. I had my eyes closed for this part so I didn’t really see it in action, but the student walked away with all of his fingers, so that was pretty cool.
Purple Team- Lilac We made a breastfeeding aid that allows mothers and children who can’t nurse (due to medical conditions, excessive pain or difficulty, etc.) to breastfeed as naturally as possible. Yes, an awesome mother and her adorable baby came on stage and demoed it live.
Red Team- Tempra Picture this- it’s past dinnertime, you’ve already been watching presentations for over an hour, you’re super hungry and can’t get food until the end… and then Red Team comes on and cooks a full meal on stage. :(((((. Cool product though, it senses the exact temperature of your pots/pans and assists you in perfectly cooking your food.
Bonus: Watch through the Q and A to see our very own Petey ask some key questions about thick steaks.
Orange Team- Vesta Orange made an awesome vest that keeps a person warm after falling into freezing water for up to 12 hours! I thought I had a rough semester, but apparently one of the students on this team had to lay in a freezing pool for hours in order to test the product. You can see what that looks like in their demo video, where they re-created that test on stage.
Green Team- Elevate This is a wheelchair attachment that allows the user to raise the height of their seat, giving them the ability to reach higher places and see on a more eye-to-eye level (the use case they demonstrated was a user raising the height of their seat to eat in a restaurant). This was an awesome demo, and I really liked the fact that the mechanism they made was purely mechanical. No need for heavy motors and/or batteries!
Pink Team- Zip Another cool mechanical design, Zip is a knee scooter that can transform into crutches so the user can move up and down stairs or maneuver tight spaces. Their team space in lab was a graveyard of crutches and Razor scooters, which seems like a fun combo.
Silver Team- Sentry Silver made a speed bump that collapses to allow emergency vehicles to pass. A similar concept to the technology that changes traffic signals to allow ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks to speed through, but much more difficult to make. Unfortunately they couldn’t bring a fire truck on stage, but they did have a golf cart drive over their bump.
Finally, here’s a beautiful video of MIT and the surrounding area shot using a drone. They played this at the beginning of the presentation, and it made me nostalgic for my college years, even though I still go here: