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MIT student blogger Kirsten L. '15

bump by Kirsten L. '15

MIT students design products

The past weeks of my life have been consumed by 2.009, MIT’s famous senior product design class. By the end of the class, our team of 24 students will have taken an idea from nothing more than a sketch on paper to a real life product. This course is a FANTASTIC opportunity to get to build cool things and truly embraces MIT’s Mens et Manus mentality.

I don’t think many classes let you build and race an elephant…

make a gigantic balloon tower…

design elements for a stunt show….

create specifications for fruit…

or break things apart to learn.

Despite the fact that it looks like we only have fun in the class, 2.009 is HARD WORK. Over the course of 12 short weeks, we’re expected to build a product that is well designed and functions flawlessly. It’s intense.

Our product, currently named Bump, is a hands-free baby gate that will detect whether the person trying to open the gate is an adult and let them through. We see this as an opportunity to help people navigate their house a little easier while juggling their child and groceries. For our technical review this past Monday, we made this prototype. The prototype uses IR sensors to detect the height of the person approaching the gate then requires a bump on a force pad to unlock the gate.

Pappalardo has essentially become my second home because as one of the System Integrators on this team, it’s my responsibitlity to help organize and guide our team to win make a thing! In the past couple days, I’ve spent 40+ hours in lab helping my team get a functioning baby gate and countless hours stressing about getting things done (it didn’t get finished until the middle of the review…). Sometimes, I don’t sleep well at night because I’m worried about 2.009.

Yet as stressful as 009 has been, my team is what gets me through the exhaustion. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful bunch of people to work with.

They’ll spend all day in lab working on things…

They let me tell them what to do (even if it’s kinda undesirable)

They look good when they present.

Most importantly though, they know how to have fun and destress.
(Yes, this is one long massage chain.)

We’ve got a lot of work to do… but you all make it worth it :)