Product Engineering Process | Instructor

During the Summer/Fall of 2016 I was one of five people who helped put on MIT's mechanical engineering senior product design class known as 2.009. In this class, 160 students work in teams of 20-24. We take students from ideation with a broad theme (this year it was Rough, Tough, and Messy) and at the end of the term they present their final products at a Product Launch in front of ~50,000 people in person and online. A video of one of the teams presentations can be seen in thumbnail #4. Not only did we stage the entire product launch from nametags and gifts, we did everything from building the team sets to producing all the media shown. Products ranged from respirators with embedded commmunication devices and wheelchair umbrellas to phone powered compact AEDs and treadmill rock-climbing walls.

2.009 is not your average class and as staff we try to teach by creating an experience. The lecture and lab portions of 2.009 are incredibly hands-on, fun and well planned. This means our duties could range from taking 8TB of videos and 100,000 photos throughout the term, handmaking 90 custom stuffed animal fish, breaking bottles over our professors head, designing theme reveals with conveyor belts and 50 gallons of mud (thumbnail #3), 20ft balloon towers (thumbnail #5), and so much more. While many of these activities might seem off the beaten track, they have all been created with the goal of creating a space for students to be creative and intentional. Thumbnail #1 is a video that highlights some of the unique ways we introduct students to topics in product design/engineering.

Part way through the term we have a lecture called Build Challenge where we design and build unique contraptions that students race to demonstrate the importance of ideation, modeling, and testing. For this activity we not only built the contraptions students raced, we also designed the entire experience from the special ordered chocolate wrapped fish to the handmade fish we laser cut and stuffed for days, and filmed the entire event. A video can be seen in thumbnail #2.

The above doesn't even begin to cover all of the weird, crazy, and fun things we did to put on this class. It was an amazing experience where I learned a lot about design, creating an unfogetable experience for students, and most importantly being intentional with what we do.