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NuVu at
MIT Design Studios

Summer 2019

NuVu is a place where young students grow their spirit of innovation. Immersed in our design process, students use their curiosity and creativity to explore new ideas and make their concepts come to life. Our model is based on the architecture studio model, and every Summer we use imaginative themes to frame two-week long studios in which students dive into hands-on design, engineering, science, technology, art and more!

NuVu at MIT Design Studios is open to students of ages 14-18 or grades 9-12 and will be taking place at Massachusetts Institute of Technology! This will be our third year partnering with MIT’s Department of Architecture to offer this unique program. In every two-week Session, we'll be offering four studios that bridge design, engineering, robotics, computation, art and science. Join us this July and August at NuVu at MIT Design Studios!

NuVu at MIT Design Studios is one of three programs that we are offering in Summer 2019. Our three programs span ages 11-18. Please click on the links below to learn more about our full summer offering.

Summer 2019 Bioinfinity (Ages 11-13, Grades 6-8)
NuVu at MIT Design Studios (Ages 14-18, Grades 9-12, Post-High School, Gap Year)
NuVu at MIT Design Studios Residential (Ages 14-18, Grades 9-12, Gap Year)

Program Details

Theme & Topics

This Summer 2019, we stand at the edge to explore our planet Earth on the brink of change. We’ll examine a range of topics, including pre-disaster preparedness and post-disaster relief, technologies such as gene modification and prosthetics that extend our biological capacities, the use of adaptive technologies and AI to deliver on-demand healthcare and precision medicine, and climate-controlled food production using food computers to deliver tasty fruits and veggies.


On The Brink

Over the past decade, we’ve seen significant changes in society as a result of powerful forces. We’ve seen a dramatic rise in innovations in health and medicine through the use of machine learning and AI. Urban and rural communities globally have faced massive devastation due to more frequent natural disasters. Countries around the world are seeing paradigm shifts in political ideology and the polarization of politics as social media becomes a substitute for news. With new technologies, tools, and services at our fingertip, we feel equipped to deal with many daily challenges, yet simultaneously not prepared for the unexpected impact of these capabilities.

It is clear that we are part of a new phase of globalization. The trade of goods across borders has been augmented by the movement of data and know-how. Networked machines and systems are expanding through the use of AI, interfacing with humans at an unprecedented rate. Reduced costs for sensors means every object can become part of the internet of things, and a system of data capture. We’re building a highly complex and interconnected digital social landscape where a single event can have an instantaneous effect across many geographies, industries, and groups of people.

During each of the Summer Studios, we’ll use research and insight from experts to inform the creation of products, services, policies, and infrastructure. Throughout the program, students will be working on college and graduate level problems with the guidance of professionals and experts. Our mission is to help individuals, communities and cities better prepare for “on the brink” events and improve living conditions around the globe.

Sessions & Studio Offerings

NuVu at MIT Design Studios includes three Sessions. Each Session is 2 weeks long. Each Session will have four unique studios (e.g., Junkyard Automata, AI Neural Networks, Food Fabrication Lab, Devices for Activism) offered to students. Students can only register for one studio per Session. Students can attend one, two, or all three of the Sessions.

NuVu at MIT Design Studios is open to students ages 14 to 18. This program is intended for high school, post-high school, and gap year students. For middle school students (ages 11-13) interested in our program, please visit our Summer 2019 Bioinfinity page with details of our studio offerings.

UPDATE (May 20, 2019): The following studios have a limited number of spots open or are full and have a waitlist option:

Underwater Soft Robotics (FULL - waitlist only)

Food Fabrication Lab (FULL - waitlist only)

Transhuman AR Games (FULL - waitlist only)

Devices for Activism (1 spot)

AI Neural Networks (FULL - waitlist only)

Digital Street Couture (4 spots)

Future AR (3 spots)

Synthetic Biology (FULL - waitlist only)


Studio Process & Skills

This Summer, students will dive into a multitude of topics that explore the theme “On the Brink.” With studio topics that include Underwater Soft Robotics, AI Neural Networks, Digital Street Couture and more, students will stretch their imaginations, gaining valuable knowledge, skills and technical prowess along the way. By working on real-world and interdisciplinary projects, students will learn about Science, Engineering, Programming, Electronics, Industrial Design, Fashion, Gaming, Art, Filmmaking and more.

In each studio, students will be pushed out of their comfort zone, expanding their creative limits to come up with innovative solutions. They will be using digital fabrication tools (3D printers, laser cutter, CNC milling machines) to design interactive clothing, programming to build mechanical home assistant helpers, engineering tiny medical robots, and inventing soft prosthetics for rehabilitation. In a period of two weeks, students will go through the full design process: researching, conceptualizing, innovating, designing, and making. Working in small collaborative teams under the guidance of our expert Coaches who are professionals and academics at MIT, Harvard and other top universities, students will develop essential social, problem-solving, communication and technology skills. The studios are inspired by cutting-edge research and inventions from MIT as well as the vibrant technology and design industries.


Each studio is overseen by a NuVu Coach who offers support to students as appropriate to the studio problem. Carefully screened NuVu Coaches come from a range of backgrounds and bring a diversity of expertise; Coaches include PhD students at MIT and Harvard, entrepreneurs who are building their own companies, artists who are doing groundbreaking work, and professionals developing innovative products in various fields. In addition, NuVu staff work closely with educators and experts in curriculum and assessment design to ensure the maximum educational impact of each program. Please visit our Team page to learn more about our permanent staff, who we are, our diverse expertise, and the other things that we love to do!

Tuition & Registration


During NuVu at MIT Design Studios, we will be offering three 2-week Sessions with four unique Studios in each Session, for a total of twelve unique Studios. Tuition for each 2-week studio is $1,925 all-inclusive which includes daily lunch and all the equipment and supplies that will be needed for students’ projects. Transportation is not provided. Students are required to bring their own laptop to the program each day.

Tuition for Student Attending One Session: $1,925


If a student is attending more than one Session, the following discounts will apply:

Tuition for Student Attending Two Sessions: $3,600 ($250 discount)
Tuition for Student Attending Three Sessions: $5,325 ($450 discount)

Returning NuVu Students and Families are eligible for the following Early-Bird Discounts if they register prior to December 31, 2018:

Tuition for Returning NuVu Student Attending One Session: $1,825 ($100 discount)
Tuition for Returning NuVu Student Attending Two Sessions: $3,650 ($200 discount)
Tuition for Returning NuVu Student Attending Three Sessions: $5,375 ($400 discount)

If two or more students in a family are attending NuVu’s Summer Program, each student will receive a $75 discount per Session


Student registration is processed on a first-come, first-served basis and guaranteed once families enroll online and send their final payment. During our 2019 NuVu at MIT Design Studios, we will be offering three 2-week Sessions with four unique studios in each Session, (e.g., Underwater Soft Robotics, AI Neural Networks, Digital Street Couture, Junkyard Automata) for a total of twelve studios. Students can only register for one studio per 2-week Session. Students may attend one, two or three Sessions. NuVu at MIT Design Studios is open to students ages 14 to 18. This program is intended for high school, post-high school, and gap year students. For middle school students interested in our summer program, please visit our Summer 2019 Bioinfinity page with details on our offerings. A maximum of 10 students will be accepted for each studio. Because studio enrollment is limited, we recommend that you register and send your final payment as soon as possible in order to ensure studio choices.

In order to complete the registration process and finalize studio enrollment, the following steps need to be done:

  1. Online Deposit of $200 (credit card payment only)
  2. Final payment (check payment only)

A deposit of $200 per Session must accompany each registration, and can be paid online through NuVu’s website. Deposits are refundable only until March 1st, 2019, after which they become non-refundable. Credit cards are accepted for online deposits only.

Final payments must be made by check and received in full by June 1, 2019 otherwise the student’s spot will be forfeited to another student on the waitlist. After June 1, families can still register for a studio, but final payments must be made immediately after the online registration is completed.

Please make checks payable to NuVu. Include the name of the student and studio they are participating in on the check (e.g. Jane Smith, Underwater Soft Robotics). Mail the check to:

NuVu Studio
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

If you have questions, please email us at summer@nuvustudio.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ - Students

Which age group is attending NuVu at MIT Design Studios?
Students are between that ages of 14 and 18 or high school students. Post-high school and gap year students may also attend.

Are you thinking of a Gap Year? Why is a summer at NuVu a particularly good investment for a Gap Year?
The time before high school and college is a time to explore new things. It is a time to discover who you are, what your interests are, and where you might want to go with your life. A summer at NuVu is a chance to do just this—to open yourself up to the world. With a variety of design challenges and engineering projects, students can pursue a developing interest or try something completely new. While at NuVu, students are exposed to new ideas and new perspectives on a daily basis.

What kind of student is a good fit for NuVu?
NuVu’s students are young people eager to build new things, use technology, and work in a team of makers. They are curious and ready to learn in a new way. Because of the diversity of personalities and interests of NuVu participants, almost all of our students will find their niche in one or more of the Studios.

How do you ensure that all students receive personal attention?
Personal attention is not the exception but the rule at NuVu. Each student is part of a Studio and the staff-to-student ratio is approximately 1-to-6. The NuVu Summer Team of Coaches and Summer Program Coordinator are directly responsible for addressing the needs of each student. There are regular check-ins each day to ensure that the student is engaged, learning, and invested in their work.

FAQ - Logistics

Where is NuVu at MIT Design Studios located? How do I get there?
NuVu at MIT Design Studios is located in the heart of MIT's Campus in Building 7 at 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. There are a number of bus connections including the #1 Bus. You can also take the red line on the T to the Central Square stop and then walk for 10 minutes to MIT.

Where is the main NuVu located?
NuVu shares a building with Central Square Theatre. The entrance to the building is set back from the main street and located in the building between CCTV and Veggie Galaxy. Our address is:
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA, 02139

How can I get to NuVu?
NuVu is a 3 minute walk from the T stop at Central Square (Red Line). There are a number of bus connections including the #1 Bus.

Is there parking at NuVu @MIT Design Studios?
Public parking that is conveniently located is very hard to find. Students and visitors are advised to take public transportation.

What are the hours of the program?
The studio day begins at 9:00 am and ends at 3:00 pm with a one-hour lunch break in between.

How early may students arrive and how late may they stay?
Students may arrive as early as 8:30am. No advance notice is required. If students would like to work on their projects after regular studio hours, they may stay at NuVu until 4:00pm. There is no additional charge for this extra hour. This is optional work time and is unsupervised.

Will there be lunch?
NuVu will provide a catered lunch daily. The cost of lunch is covered in the tuition fee. Your child may bring their own lunch, especially if they have any special food needs or preferences. NuVu has a refrigerator and a microwave on its premises that may be used by the students. Students are not allowed to leave NuVu during lunch unless permission is provided by their parents or guardian. Please note that students will not be supervised if they leave NuVu for lunch.

How long is the lunch break?
The lunch break is one hour, typically from 11:45am to 12:45pm.

What supplies do the students need to bring?
Students are required to bring their own laptop to the program each day and taken back home at the end of the day. Students are encouraged to bring an unlined sketchbook and writing utensils (pencils or pens). NuVu will supply all equipment, tools and supplies needed by students in each Studio.

What should I do if my child does not have a laptop?
NuVu has a very limited number of shared iMacs. If your student needs access to one of these iMacs, please let us know immediately via email (summer@nuvustudio.org). Students are allowed to use these iMacs on the premises of NuVu.

What is the recommended attire?
Students should dress in comfortable attire that can also withstand some hands-on work in "The Garage", NuVu’s tool shop. Students should wear closed-toe shoes (no flip-flops). We recommend bringing an extra sweater; it might get cold in our space due to the AC over the Summer.

What is the staff-to-student ratio?
NuVu’s staff-to-student ratio is approximately 1-to-6.

If parents have any concerns during the summer, whom should they contact?
Parents should contact the Summer Program Coordinator through NuVu’s Main Office via email (summer@nuvustudio.org) or phone (617-945-7716).