Campers pitch their prototypes to the Shark Tank

All the Adaptive Futures Campers

  • 10 3D printed pieces of final products
  • 9 pieces of inspiration from Boston Children’s Hospital
  • 8 campers
  • 7 hours a day of  the creative process
  • 6 bags of model magic
  • 5 days of camp
  • 4 technical programs
  • 3 coaches
  • 2 days of trial & error 3D printing
  • 1 epic game of Gaga

This list is how Instructor Melissa Alkire broke down all the things the campers had accomplished over thenweek in Adaptive Futures. In partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital’s Occupational Therapy Department, Adaptive Futures is a new Design with Purpose program all about innovation. Campers used their imagination to design and build a product that solves a real world problem for people with disabilities.

Early in the week Allison O’Connor, an Occupational Therapist from Boston Children’s Hospital, came to camp to teach campers about what an occupational therapist does and the tools that they have adapted in their department to help their patients. Inspired by her lesson, campers the built the following products: a swing for people with mobility issues, a device to hold a phone and take photos, a tool to help people with one hand tie their hair, a hand grip to help people that can’t flex their fingers, and a spoon that opens and closes to help people pick up food and keep it in their spoon.

A presentation at the Shank Tank

“They combined all of their skill sets with their ideas for how to improve children’s lives,” said Adaptive Futures Instructor Yuko Oda.

Each entrepreneur group made their prototype by using both VR and 3D printing. First, they made their design in a VR sculpting software and then 3D printed out the design. Though there were some complications with 3D printing, every group had a prototype by the end of camp.

A groups presentation

On the last day of camp, all the entrepreneur groups presented their projects in a Shark Tank event. Each group spoke to a panel of Sharks about the real world problem that their product would solve, the process they went through to create the product, and then demonstrated how the prototype worked. After each presentation the Sharks asked questions and gave advice to the campers on how to improve their products.

“When we started, we didn’t really know what would happen this week, and I think [the campers] all have really exciting products and crazy processes that brought them here,”said Adaptive Futures Instructor Melissa Alkire.

You can check out the full video of all the Shark Tank presentations, and another video all about the Adaptive Futures program.