Spring Break: Nicaragua and San Francisco

Next week, March 22nd-26th, is Spring Break at MIT. For most students this is vacation time to catch up with the semester, but not for D-Lab. We take this as yet another opportunity to travel overseas to visit the communitites with which we work. Two different D-Lab classes will be traveling to Nicaragua next week: D-Lab: Health and D-Lab: Energy. Additionally, a group of D-Lab staff will be traveling to California for the 14th Annual Conference from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).

Up to 16 students from D-Lab: Energy will be traveling to Nicaragua to do a preliminary energy needs assessment in rural communities. After getting a comprehensive review of existing technologies that address the energy needs of rural populations, D-Lab students will be traveling to different sites to identify which solutions can best fit the needs of each location. The class will split into 4 teams and each will travel to different parts of the country. In addition to assessing the energy landscape, the teams are also bringing agricultural technologies in response to the demand from the host communities.

D-Lab: Health is running its second edition of the Spring Break travel to Nicaragua. Like last year, D-Lab students will be visiting from the main hospital in the capital to rural clinics in remote areas. The students will be interviewing and interacting with doctors and nurses alike, seeking to understand the conditions in which they work, and the issues they face on they day-to-day tasks. Their goal is to identify design challenges, in which they will be working for the remaining of the semester upon their return to MIT.

D-Lab will be attending and presenting at the NCIAA 14th Annual Conference in California with a very complete team of instructors, staff and alumni: Amy Smith, Gwyndaf Jones, Benjamin Linder, Kurt Kombluth, Ariel Phillips, Nathan Cooke, and Kofi Taha. We will be presenting everyday on such topics as: Build-It Modules: A hands-on approach to teaching appropriate technologies and manufacturing techniquesPreparing students to travel overseas: Experiences from MIT's D-Lab; and UC Davis D-Lab Activity: Build a small wind generator in two hours! Check out the schedule, and come and learn more about D-Lab!

We will be updating this news section very often over the coming days, aggregating reports from all these trips, so stay tunned!