Cutting-Edge Design

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Cutting-Edge Design

The Innovators began today with a visit to Artisan’s Asylum, a creative workspace located in Somerville.

The workplace is located in a sprawling, three-building complex subdivided into small “shops,” or designated project-specific areas. The Innovators toured the main building, exploring the jewelry shop, bike shop, and circuitry and robotics shop. They discovered the different machines throughout the workplace—3D printers, industrialized sewing machines, and laser cutters, to name a few.

In fact, they experienced an in-depth demonstration of the laser cutter during their interactive session. After the tour, the Innovators gathered in a workshop, divided into four groups of around five or six, and collaborated on a sculpting activity. Each group had to make three sculptures out of spare wooden parts: one that could roll or move in some way, one that was at least twenty-four inches tall and stood on its own, and one mobile-esque construction with three separate parts that fit into one another like a nesting doll. 

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The innovators building their sculptures

In-between building, each group took a trip to the laser cutter, where they received an explanation of the theory behind laser cutting as well as its practical purposes. Oftentimes, laser cutters are implemented to form important small parts that fit into larger, more ambitious projects. Its precision is also paramount in textile creation. 

Additionally, the Innovators wrote instructions for each of their sculptures and, after they had finished building their three creations, they switched groups and attempted to build others’ constructions with the written instructions. 

Then, after lunch at Suffolk, the Innovators gathered for a session on entrepreneurship with the founder and president of the Richi Childhood Cancer Foundation, Ricardo Garcia. 

Fundraising is a crucial strategy to building not only a nonprofit organization, but also a startup company or business. Ricardo learned how to fundraise the hard way when he was conflicted with the bills for the expensive procedure that ultimately saved his child’s life. 

He also prepared the Innovators for a fundraising activity on Sunday. To help with the stress associated with intensive cancer treatments, Richi, Ricardo’s son, found solace in art therapy. Now, he paints for fun, and sells his canvases to help the foundation (richiartgallery.com). On Sunday, the Innovators will be selling Richi’s paintings, competing with one another to see who can raise the most. Keep tuned for more information on that front!

After the session with Ricardo, half of the Innovators engaged with a LinkedIn session to improve their profiles. Having a polished, professional social media platform is an important component to a successful contemporary career. In particular, networking—building connections—can help to ensure that you work at the company you want, in the field that you want, with the job that you want.

The other half traveled to Seaport for a tour of Autodesk, a haven of design technology. Autodesk is a software design company, but its technological build spaces—located in Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, and Birmingham—act as much more than that. Creative engineers, artists, manufacturers, entertainers, educators, and students with an innovative project can apply to be fellows at Autodesk. If they are accepted, they get full usage of the machinery available at Autodesk—including cutting-edge technology like jet cutters, robotic arms, and enormous 3D printers—for free. Not only that, but they also get free training in the Autodesk software.

The Innovators learning about one of the resident’s project at Autodesk

The Innovators learning about one of the resident’s project at Autodesk

One of the contemporary designs at Autodesk

One of the contemporary designs at Autodesk

The Innovators received a tour of the facilities, learning about past and ongoing projects along the way. One project involved 3D-printing with cement in order to make better bridge supports. Another entailed a timber frame for a skyscraper in an effort to be more ecologically-friendly. One group created a hybrid basalt chemical that could potentially be implemented for houses on Mars in a NASA-sponsored program. 

After dinner, the Innovators gathered in the Boston Public Garden for a game of rugby. It’s not just about improving the mind every day—it’s about doing something for the body, too. 

Emerson Monks

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Transcendental Technologies

The Innovators began the day with a trip to the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital. There, they engage in a session called “Imaging the Body.” The Marinos Center is devoted to producing new kinds of screening technologies and techniques in order to better medical assessment and treatment. The Innovators learned about the mission behind the Martinos Center, exploring the scanners designed and produced there. They also got an in-depth explanation into the world of MRI—Magnetic Resonance Imaging—technology, trying out different machines and learning how to use them. Body imaging is a crucial intersection between the life and physical sciences.

The Innovators with the research portable MRI

The Innovators with the research portable MRI

The Innovators with a clinical MRI scanner

The Innovators with a clinical MRI scanner

Then, the Innovators traveled to Humanyze, a tech startup company born out of the MIT MediaLab. It is dedicated to improving human interaction in the professional workplace through enhancing the social sciences, IOT, and machine learning.

Team interaction is vital to success on any project in any field. The Innovators didn’t just learn about the mission of Humanyze; they also discovered the entrepreneurship, leadership, and dedication required to make a startup fiscally and philosophically lucrative. Through discussing the history, structure, and efficacy of Humanyze, the Innovators got a more comprehensive understanding of what it means to found and develop their own company.

The Innovators visiting Humanyze

The Innovators visiting Humanyze

The Innovators visiting Humanyze

The Innovators visiting Humanyze

After lunch, the Innovators came back to Suffolk for a groundbreaking session with virtual reality. Companies like Samsung are at the forefront of the efforts to advance virtual reality, or the transposition of someone’s state of mind into an artificial space. While virtual reality naturally draws connotations of avatars and video games, its implications for medical assistance and education are endless. Virtual reality has the potential to impact not only society, but also science.

More than the mere theory behind virtual reality, however, the Innovators engaged in a rich firsthand experience. They were able to try out virtual reality headsets, stepping foot into a universe engineered by computers, cutting-edge technology, and the innovation of the human imagination.

Ricardo having fun with a Virtual Reality system

Ricardo having fun with a Virtual Reality system

Fernanda enjoying Augmented Reality system

Fernanda enjoying Augmented Reality system

To finish the day, the Innovators collaborated on their Challenge. Next week, they will gather to present their ideas at the final celebration. Keep tuned!

Emerson Monks

Coding, Conversation, and Cooperation

Coding, Conversation, and Cooperation

The Innovators began the day in Cambridge. Those who participated in activities at the Koch Institute switched over to the MIT Media Lab, and vice-versa. A balanced curriculum is vital to the goals of the Richi Innovation Camp!

Afterwards, the Innovators gathered for a session called Awakening Vocations. The Innovators are at the cusp of deciding which career path they will take. Will it be in the life sciences, or in engineering? Within each of these subsets, will they choose to be a civil engineer or a chemical one? Do they want to engage in biological research or become a doctor? And if they do become a doctor, will they be a pediatrician or a surgeon? If they do engage in research, will they focus on drug development or genetic enhancement?

Narrowing down a career can be a challenging and near-impossible task, but today, the Innovators had a session with Lauren Celano, the CEO of Propel Careers. She helped them determine their interests and potential as well as the things to consider when choosing a vocation—and, on that note, the things not to consider.

The Innovators with Lauren Celano

The Innovators with Lauren Celano

The Innovators with Erik Rocheford

The Innovators with Erik Rocheford

Next, they met with Erik Rocheford for a lecture on networking. One of the most crucial components to any career is networking, or the ability to make solid, lasting, professional relationships. Very few jobs are hired through a blind application, especially those that are more advanced (and, in the same vein, more prestigious and better-paying). To grow a career successfully, you must network. Keep in touch with old bosses and coworkers, go to conferences and events, and maintain a professional demeanor at all times in the workplace!

The Innovators hard at work as they code their robots!

The Innovators hard at work as they code their robots!

After lunch, the Innovators gathered at Suffolk for a continuation of their robot program. Yesterday, they built their robots, and today, they learned how to code them with the help of Coding With Kids! Coding With Kids is a program that has helped hundreds of schools and children across the country establish clubs and teach curious young minds how to program. Coding is an incredibly helpful skill, especially for those who seek a career in the STEAM industries.

Emerson Monks

Collaboration in Cambridge

Collaboration in Cambridge

The Innovators started off this morning with a visit to MIT. One groups went to visit the world-famous Koch Institute, the cancer research center. There, they engaged in a “short course” called “You Be the Cancer Researcher.” In an activity called “What does cancer look like?”, the students gained an overview of general cancer biology as well as an overview of MIT’s research approach, watching videos of cell division, examining tissue samples under microscopes, and learning the difference between healthy and cancerous tissue in a variety of organs. They then discussed the various manners in which cancer is treated and the importance of laboratory research. To test out different methods and improve their laboratory skills, the students pipetted solution into multi-well plates, learning how to use general equipment utilized in many experiments. Finally, the Innovators got an exclusive tour of two of the research engineering labs.

The other group visited MIT’s Media Lab, a lab that encourages the unconventional approach and mixture of many different fields of research. There, the Innovators learned about various ongoing projects, deepening their understanding of the benefit of a convergence of design and technology in the development and production of groundbreaking technology. More than the production side, they also learned about the potential of the collaboration of academia and industry. Tomorrow, the two will switch place!

The Innovators at MIT’s Media Lab!

The Innovators at MIT’s Media Lab!

Afterwards, the Innovators joined a few professionals at MIT for a career panel. They learned more about what to take into account when choosing their vocation, and reflected on their interests and potential. They also got a better sense of what a career in the STEAM industries mean. The career professionals present included the founder of CheckMate Diabetes, a platform dedicated to providing insight and trends and a virtual support platform to those afflicted with diabetes; a lead scientist at BioDevek, a startup founded at MIT dedicated to providing better medical devices and technology; the director of innovations at ChileMass, a nonprofit organization devoted to catalyzing collaboration between Chile and the Commonwealth in terms of energy, technology, education, and venture capital; and the cofounder and CEO of LuminDx, a company focused on improving skincare with technologies such as computer vision and AI.

Then, the Innovators took a break and went on tour of Harvard University, one of the best universities in the world located conveniently in Cambridge. Harvard is the oldest university in the United States, and its alumni include several US presidents, famous writers, politicians, scientists, musicians, and performers.

The Innovators visiting Harvard University

The Innovators visiting Harvard University

The Innovators build their own personal robots!

The Innovators build their own personal robots!

After Harvard, the Innovators came back to Suffolk for a session called My Robot and I, where they learned how to build their own robots. As a special gift, the Innovators get to keep the robots they build!. This session will go on for a couple of days and tomorrow, the Innovators will learn how to code their robots. Keep tuned for more information on their projects!

Emerson Monks

Nature in the City

Nature in the City

This weekend, the Innovators had some free time to cut back, relax, and explore. On Saturday morning, some of the Innovators went on a guided tour of the world-famous Fenway Park, home to the Red Sox, or Boston’s baseball team. Some Innovators took the opportunity to buy tickets for a Sunday night game!

Then, in the afternoon, the Innovators took to the seas for a whale-watching expedition. The waters off of the coast of Massachusetts are rich with sea creatures, including humpback, minke, right, pilot, and finback species. In addition to whales, several species of tuna are found in that stretch of the Atlantic, as well as sea bass, and the Innovators caught a glimpse of many lobster pots. (Or, as pronounced like a Massachusetts native: “lobstah.”)

A humpback whale breaching… a rare and beautiful sighting!

A humpback whale breaching… a rare and beautiful sighting!

The Innovators were fortunate enough to see several humpback whales—including one that breached, or jumped, a rare behavior glimpsed on about 10% of whale-watching forays—two minke whales, and a finback whale. Finbacks are the second-largest animal on earth, ranging from about forty to seventy feet in length, only beat by the blue whale. They also caught an incredible view of the Boston skyline as they came in and out of the harbor.

In the evening, some of the Innovators explored the area around the New England Aquarium, one of the best aquariums in the world. On Sunday, many took the chance to simply travel around the city and all of its diverse neighborhoods. 

Emerson Monks