Affiliated R&D

MIT D-Lab Affiliated Professor Dan Frey plays an advisory role to a number of ongoing research and development projects and start-ups. These projects are invited to use meeting and workspace at D-Lab as available and the workshop to iterate prototypes. Undergraduate and graduate students at D-Lab - and MIT more broadly - often work on these projects - independently or through a D-Lab class. 

Current MIT D-Lab-Affiliated R&D Projects



Diana Yusef in the D-Lab shot with a prototype of the ChangeWater Labs waterless toilet.

Globally, more than 2.6 billion people lack access to a toilet. change:WATER Labs is developing a toilet that flushes away household sewage without water, power, or plumbing to expand access to safe, clean dignified sanitation to millions. This low-cost, scalable toilet has the potential to enhance the health and safety of vulnerable families, especially girls and women who suffer disproportionately when they don’t have access to private toilets. change:WATER Labs website


Prithvi adjusts a Sensen cookstove sensor in Uganda, 2015.

Sensen provides data-driven insights to organizations working in international development by evaluating technologies through the use of low-cost, long-lasting custom dataloggers that use a combination of sensors to understand when products are being used and how they're performing. Recent applications of the Sensen technology have included an FMO-funded cookstove and air quality study in India and a USAID-funded study of wheelchairs. Sensen website



Five billion people worldwide lack access to safe surgery resulting in 18 million deaths annually. An ultraportable inflatable surgical environment intended for use in humanitarian aid and military field settings, SurgiBox is designed to make surgery safer for patients by reducing intraoperative air/skin contamination of incisions and for surgeons by reducing exposure to bodily fluid splashes and aerosol. SurgiBox website


A clay pot in a dish at left; a large shipping container w solar panels at right.

CoolVeg works to disseminate technologies that utilize evaporative cooling to deliver significant improvements in fruit and vegetable shelf-life by providing a cool and humid storage environment. These shelf-life improvements allow produce farmers, vendors, and consumers to avoid food loss, save time and money, and increase access to these nutritious foods. CoolVeg collaborates with businesses, research institutions, NGOs, and government agencies to increase access and adoption of these technologies through training programs and technical support. CoolVeg website