Fall 2021 Prototyping Fund Showcase Recap

The NYU Prototyping Fund is a collaborative program offered by the Design Lab @ NYU Tandon MakerSpace, the Technology Management and Innovation Department, and New York City Future Manufacturing Collective (NYC-FMC), that awards teams of students up to $500 in the first round of funding and up to $2,000 in the second to be used to build hardware or software prototypes, and connects them with the resources, tools, and mentors they need to bring their ideas to life and move to the next stage of product development, while encouraging multidisciplinary collaboration between students at NYU. This semester, 11 teams were selected to represent 6 NYU schools, totaling to almost $4,000 dollars! Schools included Center for Urban Science and Progress, College of Arts and Science, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, NYU Abu Dhabi, Tandon School of Engineering, and Tisch School of the Arts. 

Throughout their workshops and sessions, they discussed various prototyping techniques as well as “why” and “how” to prototype. Participating teams worked on projects ranging from building an autonomous drone that picks up trash, to creating a healthcare-oriented VR game, and developing NYU’s first nanosatellite through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. While some teams are working on physical prototypes and others digital – the principles of early testing, asking questions, and learning from users apply to all of the projects. We encouraged the teams to use prototypes as a method to fail safely (and cheaply) and ultimately, to begin testing as soon as possible. 

On Wednesday, December 8th, the cohort showcased their projects in the NYU MakerSpace’s EventSpace. The teams each had to work on their projects, make a slide deck, and a video explaining their process and designs. Some common themes that popped up were building community, use of AR/VR, focusing on current events such as health and wellness, and sustainability. One team in specific, Communil, who were building a webapp that incorporates QR code technology to allow users to seamlessly share a bundle of their selected social media and contact information, found the importance of researching and interviewing potential users, and resulted in the team issuing personal QR codes for each profile auto-generated by the app rather than QR codes for individual social media page within a user’s profile which were used in the earlier prototype iterations. Another team, Trashy Wheels, who were retrieving and converting New York City’s recyclable plastic garbage into skateboarding wheels, used multiple machines in the NYU MakerSpace, such as the Othermill to mill out wax, and the Ultimakers and Form3 3D printers to build prototypes.

You can learn more about the cohort below. We are so proud of how hard the teams worked to build, creatively tested, and got user feedback while using design thinking techniques!

Congratulations to the Teams!

Trashy Wheels: Sustainable Skateboarding Wheels: Trashy Wheels collects and converts recyclable plastics into high-performance wheels for pedestrian conveyances, such as skateboarding, and commercial and industrial carts. Joseph Bishop (CAS ‘22)

Psychloroma: Building a healthcare-oriented VR game where you can control an avatar/environment using dry electrode BCI headset (Emotiv Insight) and AI to decode the motor imagery and visual cortex imagery from the brainwave data. Sounak Ghosh (Tandon ‘22) & Lucas Wozniak (Tisch ‘22)

Communil: Creating proprietary scannable barcode matrices (similar to a QR code) in conjunction with software to act as a bridge between the students of the NYU community. Jonathan Gao (Stern ‘25)  & Dimash Shubay (Stern ‘25)

Smart Stress Buddy: Creating a stress absorbing device that helps mitigate and reduce stress level. Lauren Chun (Tisch ‘23) & Tarun Sharma (Tisch ‘23)

Portable Sound-Proof Booth for Vocal Training: Building a sound-proof booth that allows for effective vocal training while isolating the environment from the loud sound. Qinsong Guo (Tandon ‘25)

Mundare: Building an autonomous drone that flies along a predetermined path on a section of beach, using a video camera and machine learning to detect trash that it encounters and picks it up. Daniel Zhang (Tandon ‘25), Ali Fakhry (Tandon ‘25), & Nick Pham (Tandon ‘25)

NYU CubeSat: NYU CubeSat is an interdisciplinary satellite research group dedicated to developing and launching NYU’s first nanosatellite through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. Kavitha Rao (Tandon ‘23), Alex Kelso (CAS ‘23), Emily Hsieh (Tandon ‘23), Eva Ahmetaj (Tandon ‘23), & Dara Wang (Stern ‘24)

Tandon Made Challenge, Team Air Circulation: Our proposed project consists of an air circulation system that takes care of the transmission of virus indoors and consists of two products: a Folding Air Shower and an Air Circulation Table. SeungHwa Lee (CUSP ‘22), Aleka Raju (CUSP ‘21), & Seoyoung Hong (Tandon ‘23)

TJL Investigation: Theo Jansen Linkage (TJL), a kinematic chain designed to mimic the smooth walking of a bipedal animal. Thomas Belinky (Tandon ‘24)

SURFACE: Simple User-friendly Risk-reduction Following Apropos Cleaning in Environments: To combat local transmission risks for COVID-19 and other pathogens, the SURFACE project aims to develop a fully automatic, three-dimensional (3D) quality control mechanism for ensuring the cleaning of indoor spaces. Winnie Zheng (Tandon ‘23) & Kevin Joseph (Abu Dhabi ‘22)

Fun Guy: Using Fungal mycelium to replace styrofoam packaging and other single use plastic materials. Maria Rehan (Tandon ‘23), Nikareka Muniyasamy (Tandon ‘23), & Alisha Mugunthan (Tandon ‘23)

Learn more about the NYU MakerSpace’s funding opportunities.