Learning Outside The Classroom News - 2012

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  • Amy Smith demonstrates a charcoal burn to students. Photo: Nathan Cooke

  • On October 23rd, the world’s largest accelerator program, MassChallenge, announced the winners of $1.1 million in prizes. Global Research Innovation and Technology (GRIT), led by Tish Scolnik (’10) a D-Lab “alumna” and current D-Lab Scale-Ups fellow, was among the top four top winners of $100K. GRIT is the social enterprise incorporated last year to bring the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) to market in the developing world.

    Tish Scolnik demonstrates the LFC with staff at St. Boniface Hospital Foundation in Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti

    The LFC, developed at MIT and a first place winner of the 2008 MIT IDEAS competition, is a lever-powered wheelchair designed for the 20 million people in the developing world who need a wheelchair. Its unique lever drivetrain enables users to travel 80% faster than conventional wheelchairs on tarmac and off road like no other mobility aid available. Currently manufactured in India, it is constructed of locally available materials and bicycle parts, but could be made, repaired, and used almost anywhere in the world.

  • Global Map

  • In the past year, 275 Massachusetts Avenue (formerly known as N51 and N52) has undergone a dramatic revitalization. What was once the home of General Radio – a company founded in 1915 that made tools and instruments for the electronics industry and even partnered with Harold “Doc” Edgerton on the Strobotac® – is now a hotbed of design, invention and fabrication activity.

    N51 and N52 at 275 Mass Ave.

  • It was an exciting and productive summer for Edgerton Clubs and Teams on campus and around the country.

    The Vehicle Design Summit’s (VDS) latest and greatest prototype ArchiMITes, an open source designed “green” car, is almost ready to roll. In early August, filmmaker Alberta Chu of ASKlabs documentary films interviewed VDS team members Anna Jaffe ’09 and Nii Armar ’06 SM ‘09. The short film, to be broadcast this fall, is produced for the General Electric and Cinelan “Innovators” series featuring today’s thinkers who are changing the world. Chu has previously made documentary films for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. Chu’s film on the largest Tesla coil in the world will be screened at the Boston Museum of Science in November.  Check out the ArchiMITes design.

    Vehicle Design Summit's ArchiMITes


    “The way is clear, the future bright for solar vehicles”

    On a Friday morning in May, WCVB (Channel 5) producer Clinton Conley and cameraman Bob Oliver came to N51 (the Edgerton Center space for clubs and teams) to film the Solar Electric Vehicle Team (SEVT). An interview with SEVT team member Julia Hsu ’14 and Edgerton Center Clubs and Teams Manager Stephen Banzaert aired June 14 on The Chronicle entitled “MPG OMG.” There is also footage of the Chopper del Sol racing in Australia as well as the team at work.

    Julia Hsu of SEVT

    Watch final segment “Looking to the future” featuring Edgerton’s SEVT

    SEVT is now preparing for the American Solar Challenge. The race, beginning on July 14th, starts in Rochester, New York and ends in St. Paul, Minnesota. The team will cover eight states in eight (hopefully sun-filled) days.

  • Dr. Jim Bales explains how the strobe light caputures the milk spash.

    In the spirit of Doc Edgerton’s famous aphorism, “Tell everyone everything you know,” the MIT Edgerton Center opened its doors on April 28 to participate in Obscura Day, an international celebration of unusual places.

  • D-Lab ShowcaseOn Saturday, May 12, it was standing-room only at the MIT Museum as D-Lab students, instructors and friends filled the MIT 360 Presentation Space for the annual D-Lab Spring Showcase. After a welcome by Amy Smith, D-Lab's founder and co-director, who introduced newcomers to D-Lab and explained the significance of this 10th anniversary-edition Showcase, instructors briefly described each of the D-Lab's six courses offered in Spring 2012.

    New courses D-Lab: Biodiversity and D-Lab: Supply Chains made their Showcase debut, with D-Lab: Design, Disseminating WASH Innovations, Energy, and Health returning. D-Lab prides itself on a unique approach to hands-on experiential learning and real projects, and the different courses each had their own spin. D-Lab: Health, for example, encouraged all of their students to explore how to 'design for hack' and create a modular kit that would allow users to swap in locally available parts, try out other configurations for the device, and generally feel empowered to adapt and innovate!

  • MIT Global Education & Career Development (GECD) is pleased to release the results of the 2011 Student Summer Experience Survey. This survey gathers information and data on what sophomores, juniors, and seniors did during the summer months before returning to campus in the fall of 2011.

    What Did MIT Undergrads Students Do This Past Summer?

    Paid Internship UROP Research Outside MIT Summer Paid Job Unpaid Internship Took Summer Off Other Plans Travel









  • I teach Physics, but I am not only a physicist. Like many at MIT, I have a polyhedric personality- among other things, I love to eat, cook, and speak different languages. I have always dreamed of melting some of my diverse interests into a unifying project, however I never had a chance to do it until now. In Europe, where I come from, academia tends to be compartmentalized. At MIT, I have finally had a chance to explore and grow in different directions.

    As a staff member at MIT's Experimental Study Group (ESG), I am continuously encouraged to develop creative approaches to learning and to experiment with interactive and interdisciplinary curricula. ESG experiments not only with freshmen GIRs, but also sponsors innovative seminars every spring, open to all MIT students, on a variety of subjects that are not covered in the regular curriculum.

    I am thrilled to teach, for the first time, a seminar on my language (I am a native Italian), culture, and food all woven together: Speak Italian.. With Your Mouth Full. Each class is based on the preparation of a delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture.

    Paola Rebusco