Department News


PhD Student Wins First Place for 3D Modeling Tools

Milnes and Martin winning at SXSWThis past March at the South by Southwest Festival’s Accelerator-Innovative Web Track competition, two MIT students—Tom Milnes, MechE PhD candidate working with Professor Douglas Hart, and Sloan School alum Ash Martin —won first place for one of their company’s products, Hypr3D. This web-based tool brings photo-realistic 3D modeling to the masses with user-uploaded photos or videos. The models can then be used for product visualization, gaming, reverse engineering, and even 3D printing. Viztu, the company Martin and Milnes started after meeting in an iTeams class at the Sloan School, has developed several 3D-focused tools since forming in 2010. In addition to Hypr3D, they also offer Zeebl, which allows users to upload photos or videos to Hypr3D via their mobile phones; VizScan, a 360-degree laser scanner that works with any digital camera (including the iPhone); and Drink My Face, another web-based program that uses scans of people’s profiles to create customized coffee mugs.

Annual Manufacturing Summit Focused on Innovation

MIT’s sixth annual manufacturing summit, hosted by the Lab for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP), was held this past October 27 and 28, in Cambridge, Mass. This year’s theme, “Revitalizing US Manufacturing to Capitalize on Innovation” featured renowned speakers on the topic of manufacturing from academia, government, and industry, including the VP of Strategy Operational Services at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, the Executive Director of Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE, see page 11 for more) and MIT Professor Olivier de Weck, and the Industry Co-Director of the Sloan School Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program Vahran Erdekian, just to name a few. This convergence of manufacturing leaders addressed everything from the current perception of manufacturing to educational needs and models of collaboration.

World-Class Renovations of Educational Research Space Continue in MechE

New Conference RoomIn continued support of the Department’s world-class education and research environment, we have undertaken several major space renovations this past year. We have completed upgrades to the Experimental Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratory for naval engineering education and research, home to both a propeller laboratory and state-of-the-art three-dimensional imaging of complex fluid dynamics phenomenon. Significant enhancements to the d’Arbeloff Lab have been undertaken by installing chemical and biological hoods for the study of feedback and control of cellular networks and systems of biological cells, and ongoing upgrades continue in the Department’s Center for Energy and Propulsion Research in Building 31 to support research in oxy-combustion and clean fuel technologies. At the center of this year’s space improvements, a major renovation of the third floor of Building 3 has been completed to develop the Energy, Controls & Mechanics (ECM) Research Nexus. We are grateful for the support of the Department’s Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT and KFUPM together with a very major donation from MIT alum Neil Pappalardo ’64 in making this transformation possible. This gut-level renovation encompasses more than 10,000 square feet and creates a contiguous and dynamic space for more than 75 graduate students and postdoctoral staff. The space also includes a new state-of-the-art classroom, a microscopy facility for graduate and undergraduate research, an optics research lab, an experimental fluid mechanics lab, and a new conference room overlooking Killian Court.

Department Head Mary C. Boyce Elected to NAE

Professor Mary Cunningham Boyce, Mechanical Engineering Department Head and Ford Professor of Engineering, was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Professor Boyce was elected for her outstanding contributions to the understanding of the mechanics of deformation in engineered and natural polymeric solids. According to the NAE web site, “Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”meche logo