Mattapan mobile farm stand (slides, .pdf)
Senior Project Manager, Yuri Orellana, Training/Development Manager
Boston Public Health Commission
In 2012 Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition (MFFC) partnered with a local farm and non-profit design organization to develop a human powered mobile farm stand that would allow youth to distribute healthy and affordable food to several locations in the Mattapan community of Boston.
This project built upon the existing stationary farmers market that MFFC had been running for 7 years. Mattapan is a low income community rich in cultural diversity. A local survey had found that community residents generally travel outside of our community to purchase food because there is no full service grocery store and that they therefore spent more of their food dollars on transportation.
Many elders shop at the farmers market, but elders living more than a few blocks from the market indicated that they needed more convenient access to food. Following charettes with local youth, a mobile farm stand was created that beautifully displayed produce when stationary. The problem is that the trike is too heavy and underpowered. The trike can only be used by the strongest bicyclists when empty. Also there isn’t enough power to get up the slightest incline. The result, produce has to be removed from its built in bins when the trike is pedaled to each new location— and if there is the slightest hill, additional persons are needed to push the trike. We are certain that some MIT know-how can fix this problem and help us utilize this wonderful resource.
Ideas to change the world with wellness
Michael Munson, Director of the Boston Dahn Holistic Fitness Centers.
Dahn Yoga & Health Centers, Inc.
Dahn Holistic Fitness is a part of one of the largest groups of yoga and martial studios in the US with 100 centers in 10 different cities, 4 right here in Boston. We specialize in the healing arts of Taoist Yoga, Meditation, Energy-based acupressure massage and internal martial arts. Based on the same Oriental Medicine principles as Acupuncture, Tai Chi, and other far-eastern healing traditions, Dahn Holistic Fitness' mission is to help individuals enjoy a higher quality of life with a healthy and connected, body and mind.
Technology today has turned the world into information--and has made that information available to us at incredible speeds and volumes.
Nevertheless, these hairless monkeys continue to leverage this technology to serve and satisfy the same analog desires of the ancients: connection and communication, creativity and destruction, love and lust, knowledge and curiosity to name a few.
As Al Gore says in 'an Inconvenient Truth', when old habits meet old technology we get predictable outcomes. When old habits meet new technologies, however, we get drastically altered consequences.
We are currently face to face with these consequences. Allow me to make some generalizations: children are growing up spending more time looking at screens in order to see life, than actually looking at life. They are being formed in a time when human emotions have been digitized and communication shrunken to symbols. Food has been cracked--broken to bits that beg the brain to buy more leaving the body with too little of what it really needs, and too much of what it really doesn't.
Technology and our future with it has always brought the simultaneous sense of foreboding and hope--the chance that it might break us out of outdated ways into greater connection, justice and joy, while at the same time shaking our confidence and capacity to sustain the values that honor all that is good in us; leaving us more clever, but more cold, more connected, but at the same time, all the more distant.
We think it's time, technology, that you get in here and do what we made you to do! Help us live a finer, happier, healthier human existence. Start by helping us go beyond the the superficial impression of connection, and begin to wake up our capacity to feel and connect more; to relish the bonds and communication that make being a human being a really good thing. Then, help us enjoy the simple delight of a healthy, energized body that works for you! Then finally, help us get a hold on these brains--focusing the endless, out-of-control gushes of information into potent, present, powerful mindfulness that enables full appreciation of each precious moment, as well as the creative potential to better the world.
In other words, technology, help us be well.
To this end, here are a couple (rough) ideas of how technology could up the ante on being human:
Have you ever headed out for dinner someplace that you'd hope would be mellow and low-key, but ended up under loud fluorescent lights and amidst even louder conversations? Sure the place got 4 stars on Yelp and the food was decent, but was just not the feeling you were going for...
Wouldn't it be great if there were an app that rated a place based on the 'vibe' you could expect there? Imagine a color-wheel, and five levels of saturation of a given color. Each color represents a certain vibe--feeling or atmosphere--and each level of saturation is how much of that vibe, and to what degree of satisfaction, other patrons found it to have. It's time to go where you want, to feel the way you want. In the same way that yelp and the 5-star system have made businesses more concerned with their quality, Vibe-Rate will make businesses more conscious of the vibe they are creating--and the world will never feel the same.
2. The Buzzing Body-Belt:
Happiness and health can be very mysterious. With all the different fitness programs, diets and self-help techniques today, it's easy to get depressed that we aren't doing enough. From the perspective of Oriental Medicine, health and happiness begin very simply: with warmth and strength in the core of the body, and coolness and clarity in the head. This state of warm and cool is the aim of many traditional healing arts including acupuncture and meditation. We often experience the opposite of this state and feel the consequences--for example when our abdomens get cold or weak, our digestion suffers, we don't feel centered or calm, our lower back stiffens and it's hard to rest. Additionally, we experience that when the head is hot and busy we can't think clearly, we are easily irritated, can't sleep and can't quiet all the mental chatter.
The BBB would be a harness the wraps around the waist, chest and forehead that, using varying degrees of vibration (imagine a massage chair) and temperature, an individual could set the state they'd like to feel. Imagine 5 settings of vibration and temperature that bring the body and mind to different degrees of relaxation, coziness, clarity or alertness. The best part is, the body belt works as a primer: after using it for a few minutes, the state remains and you can go about your day in whatever state you'd like.
From a holistic health perspective, the mind and body can't be separated and the health of one is always influencing the health of the other. As over 80% of illness is related to stress, there has never been a time where the impact of the mind on the body was more evident and the need to maintain health in both, more important.
The Mindtrack would be a simple device to help someone quickly get their body and mind state under control. Essentially it would be a biofeedback device that would give measures of the heart-rate, the brain waves, or other bio-electrical feedback and then would guide an individual, through breathing and meditation, to create the state they desire. This differentiates itself from other biofeedback devices like the nike+ fuel band in that it is not only recording results, but enabling an individual to develop the capacity to direct their own nervous system response. Eventually this would enable people to have the ability to create their mind-body state through breathing at anytime, with or without the use of the device.
And these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. What other ways could technology support the world by raising the quality of life and deepening our appreciation of just how good it feels to be well?
Motorcycle Thresher (slides, .pdf)
Associate Director, D-Lab,
Challenge: Design an effective threshing device that will use the power of a motorcycle to remove both dried rice grains from the plant and dried corn kernels from the cob, will be portable, locally repairable, and will cost less than $100 USD in Tanzania. The goal is to make mechanized threshing accessible to small scale farmers, especially women farmers, thereby increasing efficiency, reducing crop-loss, and generating higher incomes.
Project Motivation: Traditional threshing of rice and maize usually involves manually beating crops with sticks in a bag or on the ground, which leads to high post-harvest losses and contamination of the grains with dirt and stones. By using mechanized threshers, post-harvest losses can be decreased, with some studies reporting savings of as much as 75 kg of grain per every 600 kg when compared to traditional methods. Furthermore, farmers report receiving higher prices for grain threshed with mechanized threshers because the final product is cleaner and does not require the extra step of de-stoning. Existing mechanized threshers are imported and, with prices as high as $2,500 USD, are inaccessible to most small-scale farmers. Additional barriers include the high cost of imported replacement parts and fuel.
Threshing machines have a long history, and it may be possible to build upon these designs to create a human-powered threshing machine that is highly efficient. Bernard Kiwia, an inventor working with rice and maize farmers in the Morogoro region of Tanzania, has conceptualized a threshing device that can be attached to the rear wheel of a motorcycle, allowing for greater speed and torque than human-powered threshing machines. Because motorcycles are cheap to rent and ubiquitous, the idea is that this additional power can be utilized in the design while still keeping the cost of the threshing machine itself under $100 USD.
Design Considerations: There are many interesting design challenges associated with using a motorcycle to power a thresher, including: 1) the interface between the motorcycle and the threshing machine, 2) the security and safety of the motorcycle during operation, 3) cooling a motorcycle engine that is running but stationary for an extended period of time, 4) the inlets, outlets and winnowing capability of the threshing machine itself, 5) the use of variable speeds for different types of crops, 6) transporting the threshing machine via motorcycle (think of a service provider riding from farm to farm), 7) local repairability, and possible local manufacturability, of the threshing device and motorcycle interface, and 8) keeping the retail price below $100 USD.
Community Partnership: The team that works on this challenge will have the opportunity to regularly discuss the project with Bernard Kiwia and to get feedback on methods, designs and costs directly from the field. In addition, funding is available for up to three highly motivated team members to travel to Tanzania over IAP to conduct field tests with a promising prototype.
Small-scale farm productivity (slides, .pdf)
Founder and Director
The Farm School
Who We Are:
In the Learn to Farm Program at The Farm School, adult students come to the farm for a year - from October through the following September - to learn to farm. Throughout the year, every day and every way, students farm. Growing food for a 175 member CSA, vibrant Farmers' Markets and a 50 member meat CSA, and managing 150 acres of productive forest land are the core of life and learning on the farm. Here students learn to farm by farming.
The creativity crisis has affected agriculture as much as any other sector in today’s economy. Creativity, ingenuity, keen observation skills, and the ability to innovate and improvise are integral to the success of the next generation of small farmers. They are at the core of what and how we teach.
How You Can Make a Meaningful Impact
One of the greatest challenges facing successful small farmers today is the lack of scale-appropriate harvest and cultivation equipment. The tools and implements our grandparents used are often effective but limited both in their scope of application and their availability. Those designed to accommodate the needs of large industrial farms are often oversized, overpriced, and overwhelming to repair and maintain. There are some amazing creative minds and collaborative communities filling this niche such as the tinkerers at Open Source Ecology (http://www.opensourceecology.org), Ron Kholsa and the Coolbot , (www.storeitcold.com) , and our friends at Farm Hack http://www.youngfarmers.org/practical/farm-hack/, but we need more. We need you. Sometimes it is about making a better and more scale-appropriate mousetrap. Sometimes it is about rethinking the whole question of whether the mouse needs to be trapped at all.
Two scale-appropriate inventions that could have a profound impact on the productivity and economic viability of vegetable farmers are: Modern Small-Scale Cultivating and Seeding Tractor and a Mechanized Root Crop Seedling Thinner.
Modern Small-Scale Cultivating and Seeding Tractor
Cultivation (i.e. weeding) is one of the most important and labor-intensive aspects of vegetable crop production. The capacity of a farm’s mechanical cultivation equipment and systems is integral to its economic viability. Mechanical cultivation is particularly important on organic farms that cannot rely on chemical herbicides for weed control.
From the 1940s to the early 1990s North American and Japanese tractor companies produced small, light-weight, and incredibly versatile cultivating tractors. These tractors were invaluable assets to small and mid-sized vegetable, fruit, and grain farmers. Many farmers are still using these older machines, but with demand increasing as a new generation of small farmers enters the field, they are increasingly hard to find, and as a result, increasingly expensive.
There is a substantial demand for a modern, re-invented, version of this versatile tool platform.
General Design Criteria:
- reliable power source (diesel, gasoline, electric)
- highly-adjustable frame assembly
- independent hydraulic systems
Mechanized Root Crop Seedling Thinner:
Root vegetables are an important part of a diversified vegetable farm. Unlike salad greens that garner a price that can justify labor costs, root vegetables often do not. One of the greatest labor expenditures on a vegetable farm is in thinning out root crop seedlings. Many farmers often break even or take a loss on these crops. Farmers plant root crop vegetables at thicker rates because these seedlings tend to germinate better at higher densities. Thinning seedlings once they have established is imperative for these crops to reach marketable size. While maximizing the accuracy of seeding is key to minimizing labor costs, having a tool available to aid in the accurate thinning of these crops is vital to improving the economic viability of small farmers growing these highly nutritious crops.
General Design Criteria:
- capacity to thin root crop seedlings at a rate of speed greater than and a level of quality greater than or equal to a skilled field worker.
- easy to maintain and repair
Questions and Contact Information:
I am excited to meet and collaborate with you on Monday, September 9th. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at anytime via phone or email. 541.954.9513
Enhanced park care and use (slides, .pdf)
Marketing and Events Manager,
Board Chair /Acting Executive Director,
Director of Park Operations
The Esplanade Association
On behalf of the Greater Boston community, The Esplanade Association (TEA) works to restore and enhance Boston’s Charles River Esplanade.
In support of its mission, TEA works to:
- Preserve the historical vision and integrity of the Esplanade
- Improve the Esplanade’s physical facilities, landscape and adjacent waterways
- Enhance the Esplanade’s cultural, educational and recreational programs
TEA’s mission is achieved through leadership, financial support, management assistance and advocacy in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and collaboration with other organizations that share a common vision or responsibility for the Esplanade.
TEA is a dynamic and collaborative organization that works as a primary partner with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to ensure the Charles River Esplanade is a world class park. This will be achieved when the Esplanade is fully and sensitively restored to creatively accommodate present and future uses, including active and passive recreation and cultural, environmental and educational programming.
Projects related to enhanced park use and care are being presented, along with ideas to enrich the enjoyment and health of visitors to the park.
Areas of interest include:
- Rebuilding docks, restoration of sports fields, path improvements, revitalization of Elliot Memorial and reopening of Founder’s Overlook
- Park Care to restore and enhance the parks landscape-making it greener, healthier, and more beautiful for park visitors.
- Programs that enrich the enjoyment and health of visitors to the park, connect people from diverse backgrounds and communities, and promote park stewardship—and are free to participants.
Products for bicycle vacationing
Director and Founder
Ciclismo Classico is a bicycle touring company that has built its loyal clientele steadily since 1988. Although it also offers tours to a few select, world-favorite cycling destinations, Ciclismo Classico has become synonymous with Italy cycling tours thanks to its uniquely Italian approach to every aspect of bicycle travel.
Ride with Ciclismo Classico and you will find yourself immersed in “la passione,” an attitude that embraces the world from an Italian perspective. All accomplished cyclists, the guides of Ciclismo Classico plan each tour with a magnificent cycling experience as their first priority. Predominantly native Italians, they have intimate knowledge of amazing routes not known to many tourists. On less-travelled roads, against a backdrop of spectacular scenery and fascinating historical and cultural locations, Ciclismo Classico cheers you on to achieve your own individual cycling milestones.
At each stop, la passione continues as restaurant and lodging owners greet you like family and welcome your guides by name. They’re eager to treat you to the best of their regional traditions and lavish you with superb food and wine. Just as family is the central fixture in Italian culture, so is the group dynamic to Ciclismo Classico tours. Each evening meal is an opportunity for your group to reconvene, share laughs and strengthen relationships. You’re deep inside the local culture and always with friends.
Touring with Ciclismo Classico is experiencing foreign travel from the inside-out, getting intimately close to the local culture and mindset in a way few travelers get to experience. With la passione, Ciclismo Classico transforms your cycling trip into a soul-satisfying, life-altering adventure you’ll never forget.
Our challenge: Over the past 5 years the competition in the bicycle vacation industry has become fierce. At one time we were the only game in town. Now we have dozens of competitors that are making the same claims of great routes, expert guides and wonderful hotels. The fact is we are the Pioneers in Italian bicycle tours and once we get a guest the first time, our guides, service, routes and unique approach to our tours keeps our customers for life.
Referrals are our best source of new business, representing as a marketing source, about 50% of new customers. Our ecstatic guests refer their friends and they come on our tours. The challenge has always been: how to get referrals from our guests and how to get them to share their experience with others in a way that can be scaled. The most common mechanism for getting referrals is to ask our guests in post tour evaluations, on the phone and in surveys, While we offer #100 for friends of friend that go on our tours, we all know that for most of our affluent guests, money is not the object. They will readily refer our company to their friends and family through TELLING STORIES about our tours and SHARING PICTURES.
Obviously social media can play a role here and our fan base is pretty good, but there must be a better way to utilize technology to increase the rate and number of referrals that each of our guests give us each year. One thought might be an APP that our guests download and can easily share their stories with others who will then contact us or we have direct access to their emai so we an send them our newsletter. Remember our tours are a fully sensory experience that guests love to talk about during and after the tours.....how to we scale their experience and share it with others
I could also imagine opportunities for integration of data logging devices (kind of like a bike-based Nike Fuelband) with embedded bicycle video capability that would allow clients post statistics and adventures on your website. Potential clients could track others progress and get a taste of what CC offers. This could be a nice differentiator for the performance minded client. Using the Nike analogy, think of it as Ciclisimo+
It cannot require too much of the guest or our staff because guests do not want to be too bothered on vacation to "work for Ciclismo" and we are a very small company and do not have the staff to manage a complicated system. I would like it to be turn key and efficiently grow our referrals leads. Since referral collection is an industry wide challenge (and beyond) and opportunity, Ciclismo Classico could surely create a patent and make money on this technological advance. Any service business could benefit from this technology.
Opportunity: Adventure Travel is the FASTEST growing niche of the travel business, growing at 16% a year. Adventure travel is an 62 billion dollar industry. The pie is growing fast and Ciclismo Classico MUST seize the opportunity of growing a the rate of the industry ( at least) increasing its sales through increasing referrals by 4X in 2013-2014.
Assisting seniors at home (slides, .pdf)
Senior Helpers provides professional caregivers to assist seniors in their home. We offer a wide range of Personal and Companion Care services to assist seniors living independently with a strong focus on quality of life for the client and piece of mind for their families.
Seniors are living a decade longer than their parents’ generation. Over the next 25 years, the senior population is expected to double to 70 million, or 20% of the U.S. population. Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 today, and approximately 10,000 more will cross that threshold every day for the next 19 years.
Our fiercely independent clients (age 70-100+) are generally fiscally conservative, not tech savvy, and are often dealing with issues of limited mobility and dexterity, sometimes with declining cognitive abilities, as well as hearing and visual impairments.
Three challenges are being proposed that could benefit our clients.
- Development of new prescription medication "security" devices,
- Development of transfer and ambulation assistance devices, and
- Development of fall prevention devices
Automate our food
Ayr Muir and John Lee, Founder, CEO
Clover fast food
AUTOMATE OUR FOOD
Food that is fresh not only tastes better, but it's more nutritious. That's why at Clover we wait until you order your sandwich to cut your tomato. This is completely opposite from most fast food. At most fast food places the technological focus is on how to make food last forever. But that means preservatives, heavy processing, degradation of nutrients (and taste), and heavy use to fat, salt, and sugar to make up for the lost flavor that is a result of processing.
We imagine a future where food is fresh and prepared to order. Right now we work really really hard to make that reality happen. Join us at one of our restaurants or trucks and you'll see us running around, there's a lot to get done. Can you come up with labor saving devices that automate some of our food production and handling while maintaining the freshness and nutritional integrity of the food? A falafel baller? Or a potato cutter?
If you take on this project we'd invite you into our kitchens and let you observe how we spend our time. We'd welcome questions, and look forward to your team developing automated food handling that could address labor while maintaining food quality.
Athletics and recreation challenges (slides, .pdf)
Director of Physical Education,
Department Head and Associate Professor
Project: Sleep pod that measures and provides health metrics to student
Problem: Sleep deprivation is prevalent at MIT negatively impacting student productivity, success and satisfaction. A solution would provide a place for a student to get power nap (plus) and learn current biometrics to provide rest and motivation to maintain health that will improve productivity as a student.
Impact: Increase productivity of students across the nation and future leaders of the world by increasing rest and providing motivation through statistics to monitor their health. This biometric data provides student with personalized health data that may help prevent disease and/or correct poor unhealthy lifestyle choices.
- Provide sleep environment and options of 30, 60, 120 minutes
- Ability to measure bp, cholesterol, glucose, ht, wt, waist circumference, blood type, BMI, resting metabolic rate
- Record data and provides longitudinal data to individual
- Provide options to select that promote relaxation and sleep and other health metrics important to college students such as music, massage, aroma therapy, oxygen etc.
- Provides students incentive for improved health and networkable
- Scalable to accommodate more students during peak periods like finals
- Hygienic and culturally acceptable
- Affordable - less than $1000 per unit
- Life span 4-6 years
Project: Comfortable Comprehensive Health Monitor with Accurate HR
Problem: Heart rate is the best measure of cardiovascular training but not commonly used by the recreational athlete because devices (current chest strap/watch combination hr monitors) that provide accurate information to teach students how to use HR to regulate training are uncomfortable, cause abrasions and cumbersome. Additionally, they are difficult to scale and use in large class setting due to cleaning required and too expensive to provide or require for each individual. Current hr monitors do not easily incorporate other wellness measures to monitor one’s health such as calories consumed. It is difficult for most people to calculate calories consumed equal calories expended.
Impact: Assist 20% of US population who exercise to train smarter, not harder and to motivate others to manage health to reduce company health care costs that exceed $50 billion annually.
- Measures hr, speed, distance, cadence, lap counter, 24/7 activity (including sleep, happiness, stress, etc.
- Calories consumed that doesn’t require data entry
- Calculates calorie expenditure
- Provides incentive for improved health (social networking)
- Water proof, comfortable, non-restrictive, concealable, easily rechargeable, networkable
- Records history and provides longitudinal data to individual
- Affordable - less than $100 per unit
Project: Create ergonomically safe women’s fashionable business shoe
Problem: While women’s fashion requires wearing heels, there are no affordable culturally acceptable women dress shoes that can be worn safely for more than 3 hours (2 inch plus heels). Women are not only expected to wear heels but wear a style and color that matches clothing which requires women to own more shoes. Women who wear heels more than 3 hours experience shin splints, chronic foot, back and/or leg pain, deformed toes, shorten Achilles tendon, and loss of range of motion. Heels that are more than 3” cause 7x the pressure on the ball of the foot rather than distributing impact across foot.
Impact: Improved health for 60-70 % of US women who wear heels daily.
- Ergonomically safe and comfortable
- Fashionable design
- Heal height options 2”-3”
- Multiple colors
- Affordable - cost less than $75 a pair
Project: Affordable semi-permanent structure to utilize outdoor fields for student sport activities Nov. 1-March 30 – recreation, club, IM, PE and athletics
Problem: The outdoor lighted fields (Roberts and Jack Barry) are not usable space for sport activities during the winter months in New England. Additionally, DAPER spends resources to plow in February and March when fields are absolutely needed.
Impact: Efficient use of MIT resources that provide additional field space for MIT students 4 months out of the year.
- Safe shelter for sport activity that uses current surface - Lacrosse, softball/baseball, football, soccer, golf, field hockey etc.
- Shelter provides heat, electric, lighted
- Minimal set up time – less than 1 week
- Minimal impact on MIT resources – consider solar and wind solutions for heat and electric
- Affordable - less than $50,000 per field
- Easy storage solution April-October
Project: Affordable climate controlled space for sport activity space – air conditioning April-October and improved heating system November-March.
Problem: Johnson 3rd floor (1/8 mile track and 4 tennis courts), DuPont (3 basketball courts, Fencing room and Pistol Range) and Rockwell cage (4 basketball courts) are not appropriate spaces for sport activities during late spring, summer, early fall months in New England. There is no air-conditioning in these sport facilities. The current heating solution used November-March is loud and disruptive to sport activity. Note Rockwell and Johnson 3rd floor are only large spaces on campus for career fair, orientation and commencement activities.
Impact: Efficient use of MIT resources that provide climate controlled space that will provide a safer environment and expand programming opportunities for students (Student Activities, Athletics, Club, IM, PE and Recreation) and the MIT community.
- Safe shelter for sport activity that uses current space – tennis, track, pistol/rifle, badminton, basketball, archery, fencing, gymnastics, martial arts, group exercise etc.
- Shelter provides superior climate controlled environment 12 months of the year
- Minimal impact on MIT resources – consider solar and wind solutions for heat and electric
- Affordable – less than $5,000 - $10,000 per space
Project: Long term scalable security system for sport facilities
Problem: Current security system (turnstile) only allows one person to pass through security at a time and relies on an ID (card) that can be shared. In addition the hardware becomes outdated and requires continual maintenance.
Impact: Improved security at all controlled venues like public transportation, ski resorts, large scale entertainment events, and other restricted facilities such as sport facilities and residence halls at MIT that limit access to authorized people only. Demographic data can provide for customized programing based on use patterns of participants.
- Tactful notification when non-authorized attempts access
- Track count and demographics of participants
- Eliminates card sharing/ ID sharing
- Minimal staff to monitor
- Minimal impact on facility to install
- Scan and approve or deny multiple people per unit
- Individualized ID
- Provide temporary access for approved guests
- Accommodate people with disabilities
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Internet capable
- Portable application preferred