D-Lab Student Profile: Miho Kitagawa

D-Lab Experience
D-Lab Development, Design for Scale, IDDS 2012 and D-Lab Health. I have been a UROP with the Health Lab since June 2013.

D-Lab Health Projects
In D-Lab Health I developed a device called Stetho-kit, a kit that modifies a normal stethoscope into a digital stethoscope so that users can record and playback sounds. If healthcare workers are unclear about a patient heart rate they can record the sound and transmit to a doctor for review. Additionally, the Stetho-kit had a training function that would allow healthcare workers to review different recordings of irregular heartbeats.

During the summer, I developed a wearable biosensor kit for nurses to use with patients to monitor different biomeasures such as temperature, patient position and galvanic skin response. This is important because nurses want to measure different biomeasures depending on the patient. A kit design allows them to create customized monitoring units based on the patient.

Favorite Prototyping Material
Wood because it is easy to work with and you can use multiple machines: laser cutter, conventional machining. Also it is quick to cut. I love the surface of sanded wood!

Favorite Prototype Equipment or Tool
I love lathes. You can make a very smooth surface in any shape imaginable, from a dome shape to a cone shape. I enjoy looking at how Delrin gets shaved in to the shape... 

Most interesting material you will find in the Health Lab: various types of silicone tapes and silicone molds.

My design inspiration
I like to look at stationery stores. This materials and tools are what people use everyday. Things in these stores are designed very well for usability. There are so many different types of stationary especially in Japan! I also grew up collecting stationary, especially erasers,.

What I like about D-Lab
The projects in the classes have a real world impact. We often talk with people in the field and really work with people from outside of MIT in the classrooms.

Best Experience with D-Lab Health
World Maker Faire in NYC. We brought 28 prototypes that we worked on over the summer, and showed them off to people (including many kids!) at the booth. It was very chaotic but also fun, and I enjoyed so much going around the other booths for design inspirations as well. I could see how other people perceive our lab and what they think about our work, which I don’t really get to see while working on campus. It was also different from usual field works for user testings - many people gave us ideas on the improvement and collaboration. That was cool.

Best thing about this Lab
It is very much a project-driven and student-driven lab. It’s really great that I have a chance to think through the projects and have controls over many things, rather than just doing the assigned tasks as in the other labs you do UROPs for. Also, I love that many smart students from different universities like Dartmouth and Northwestern as well as from different countries come to work in the lab - It was great to see them again and have “reunion” at Maker Faire NYC!