Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 12 - Design Reviews

The participants continued their work on the projects this morning in preparation for the upcoming Design review in the afternoon. We then provided lunch separately for the participants and the reviewers and I got a chance to see some of the basic models of the projects before the session began. Alvaro showed me the terrain model that the Rope way Transport team had constructed out of foam and explained that it was still quite basic, with a lot of work still to do. He also quietly informed me that twenty minutes previously, his team had found out that the area they were working in would not have access to electricity, dramatically changing the conversations they would be having with the reviewers!


The rope way transport system foam model



I also had a chance to take a look at the models that the low cost incubator and stabilized soil block maker had come up. The incubator's had come up with quite a number of different concept foam models but they explained that what they really needed was a baby! This does not look likely however so they are working on obtaining items to simulate the heat that a regular incubator would provide. The soil block team showed me their tentative model and they were looking forward to getting some feedback about it from the reviewers.


The first Incubator foam model

Another participant's vision of the incubator


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The stabilized soil block maker in its very early prototype stage


Before the official review session began the teams were charged with giving 90 second presentations to their fellow participants and the reviewers. We made our way up to the 5th floor of the Green building in MIT for the presentation and some conference logistics. I'll let the presentations speak for themselves.



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Brian Rasnow introduces the Pearl Millet threshers


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Derek Lomas talks about the idea behind the $10 computer


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Francesca Campagnoli presents Micro Hydro(or Pico) power


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The Charcoal Crushing team is introduced by Jessica Vechakul


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Kenneth Muyayaeta introduces the Power Generation from Mechanical Devices team


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Mariela Molina Parades presents the Stabilized Soil block maker

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Madeleine Abomowitz introduces the low cost incubator team


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The hand held diagnostic medical tool is presented by Mark Jeunette


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Stephen Gerrard gives a speedy presentation on the Flash system for heating breast milk!


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Winnie Yiu, of the Rope way Transport team, presents

The design reviewers then spoke to the various teams in three changeover sessions. Participants were also encouraged to interact with people outside their teams and give their honest opinions and advice on the protoypes. Benjamin Linder, who helped to facilitate the sessions told us later that he believed that the most dynamic conversations took place between the structured time sessions. Participants made sure they got as much out of the session as possible but all the reviewers I spoke to also were delighted to get the chance to offer their insights and learn about the projects on offer at this year's summit.



Elizabeth Kneen, Breast milk team, answers questions from design consultants at the review


Once the participants had completed the reviews, and their second round of weekly evaluations, they were given the chance to participate in a choice of optional special interest groups. The participants had been given the option, earlier in the week, of choosing a preference out of a list of interests such as Entrepreneurship and Innovation, IDDS through the years, University to University collaboration and Curriculum Development.

I sat in on this last option and found the session extremely informative. The group discussion was facilitated by Amy Smith and we each first explained our interest in the area, before talking about some key issues that exist in creating space for service and experiential learning in universities. Amy spoke to us about her experience in setting up D-lab in MIT and explained the difficulties inherent in the process. The huge range and diversity of the backgrounds of the people participating in this interest group meant for an interesting hour of discussion and we assigned related tasks which we agreed to work on during the rest of IDDS 08'.


Participants were then given the evening off and we collectively let off some steam through games of tennis, soccer and cricket. Sumit Pahwa, an organizer/participant from India, had been attempting to organize a cricket match since the inception of the conference and as such he was delighted that he was finally getting the chance to teach his fellow participants the ins and outs of bowling, batting and fielding. He made sure that his team won though!

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