Disaster Relief Housing in PDD

Jordan Charles ‘17

This past Saturday marked culmination of my semester-long design project for the class Product Development and Design (PDD).  The class is uniquely MIT and is a melting pot of the MIT community.  Students include PhDs, MBAs, SMs in engineering/architecture, and undergraduates.  In addition, there are several students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) that chose to enroll every year.  The goal of the class is to come up with an innovative idea for a physical product, build a prototype of that product, and develop a comprehensive business plan to bring that product to market.  
My team developed a new concept for disaster relief housing that focuses on modularity, customizability, reusability, and elements of human centered design to enable both physical and psychological recover from natural disasters.  My team consisted of two MBAs, two LGOs, and a designer from RISD.  Our solution was a ‘LEGO-style’ structure made from thermoformed squares that snap on to a skeleton-structure made out of connected pipes (no tools required!).  

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My team presenting to the class (you can see our 1/3 scale prototype in the center of the room behind me)

One of my favorite aspects of the class was the marriage of technology and business. If was fun to not only engineer a physical product, but also consider the business implications of that product throughout the design/development phase.  The class really personifies of the spirit of LGO (the intersection of engineering and business).  Our final product was a holistic solution that is both functional AND marketable.  
I also really enjoyed working with a diverse team.  We primarily built our prototype at RISD in Providence RI so we had the opportunity to interact with the RISD ecosystem and even got to use their photography studio to snap some professional shots of our finished product.

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Our prototype in the studio – pictured on the right is a load test where we (nervously) placed 150 lbs on the roof of our structure.  To our relief, it didn’t break!

The final pitch day was a highlight of the class as all 12 project teams were given 30 minutes to present their prototypes and business plans.  Many teams are planning to patent their ideas and continue developing them in order to take them to market.  Some of my favorite ideas included:
• A wireless credit card-sized external cell phone battery
• Educational toys for kids with disabilities
• A smart bike parking solution
• An integrated CPAP/EPAP machine to relive snoring
Additionally, some teams got really creative for their presentations, buying team t-shirts and even surprising the audience with elaborate costumes.  In the end, the pitch day was a fun celebration of all of our hard work and innovative ideas.  

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Team
Snap-Safe-Shelter-System.  (L-R) Anthony,
Katie, Miriam, and me

USA C-Fx Recap

Andrew Gabris ‘16

On April 28, LGO hosted the final cultural function (c-function) of the year.  Volunteers from the two LGO classes showed up early to decorate Walker Memorial.  In order to avoid long food and beverage lines, LGOs paid careful attention to layout and came up with a new and innovative solution for the setup.  We wanted to ensure that everyone would have easy access to the American Pils brewed specifically for the event by Aeronaut as well as the barbecue.  

Over 830 attendees from across the Sloan School made it to the event, which was a record for the school year.  In addition to the enthusiastic Sloanies that made the event unforgettable, we would also like to acknowledge Aeronaut, Boston Consulting Group, American Industrial Partners, and the LGO Program for their generous support of the event.

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LGOs Getting Ready for the Big Event

The night’s entertainment began with a hot dog eating contest, which was actually won by LGO 16, Diego Pinhao.  He managed to eat 10 hot dogs in two minutes as well as an additional five dogs in the one minute tie breaker.  From here, a group of Sloanie dancers took the stage to perform a variety of American-styled dances before a student band closed out the night.  

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Getting Ready for the Hot Dog Eating Contest

As a graduating second year, the event was bittersweet.  It was an amazing night to hang out with all the Sloanies that I’ve grown so close to over the past two years, but this was my last c-function.  It’s hard to believe that spring is here and commencement is just around the corner.  As sad as it is to say goodbye to Sloan, I wouldn’t trade the previous two years for anything.  I’ve learned so much, grown as a leader and had an amazing time in the process.

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The Band in Action