MIT Media Labs Design Innovation Workshop 2015 - Final Day


Writing this from airport, waiting for flight home, sometimes you just don’t want it to end though.

One of those times when people were passing on the departing salutations to each other, I was still thinking we would be grudging on the prototype with new ideas, new ways to try and new failures to take care of till early morning tomorrow to go for a quick nap, shower and back.

Since my last write-up, the days have passed as a complete whirlwind. The moment we started discussing about the actual prototype implementation of our idea.

Our idea - A shadow game for the kids to help them learn concept of physics in a fun way. A conglomeration of physical interactions and digital glamour. The initial idea was to work with projections and optics. Vishes’s (majoring in Design at IIT, Guwahati) interest. Quickly out of other ideas, some silly some serious, we all found this to be pretty interesting. I personally was a bit scared of its implementation, as I had no idea about graphics / physics programming. Only plus point was to try out Tessel and always love to code in JavaScript.

And then the way it all unfolded over the course of 3 days, including today’s demonstrations was highly exhilarating. Those days when we were young and sky seemed to be the limit, for the modern day youth, post attempts like Interstellar & Kickstarter, limits have raised beyond sky. Working closely with design grads and next-gen engineers for the first time, I realised how pessimistic my outlook has become. When all our actions & decisions require us to constrain ourselves to the perimeters of business viability,tangible returns & far future maintainability, we close our eyes & minds to the state of ridiculous optimistism and chose to carry on in the muddle of pragmatism.

The mere joy of carrying on with mind blowing prototypes that merely works & scope changes every next hour for non-stop 50 odd hours is highly enthralling.

Also in the process, I learned tricks of WebGL, learned how to make work for graphics programming, learned working with Tessel’s accelerator & GPIO modules, graphics programming and felt child-like tingling when making something on my hand control something on the screen.

It was a much required break from monotonousity; to monstrosity. Much better than being lazy in some faraway land, it’s a nice rigour for the gray cells.

Met with scintillating talents, some might be those future crazy ones.

  • what was really great that it’s not only us but few of the startup investors visiting the stalls also were interested in our idea and want to take it to the next level. Major morale booster for others in our team
  • I just cannot end it without mentioning some of the amazing stuff I saw from other tracks
    • a working 3D Printer for fabrics
    • innovative solutions with conductive fabrics like alarm clock pillow, footfall measuring carpet
    • solution to make blind people feel facial structures in photos
    • low tech innovative solutions for letting villagers know about elephant’s positions (without putting anything on the animal itself)
    • extending the famous mobile game Temple Run by providing similar experience for people to cycle more in real life and in the process helping them maintain their health
  • And of course, our project’s source code is open source