Open Innovation Winter 2017


Tony Whelan and Richard Lourie


Kevin Brown and Rowan Roudebush

Kevin's Brief:

Flat Power: an extension cord that has outlets that slide along it and has no exposed wires. 

Flat Power is a safe way to distribute power across a room with few outlets so people working in the room don't have to compete for extension cords or "daisy-chain" them across the room. Daisy-chaining--pluging one extension cord into another, is against regulation and could be dangerous. The greatest challenge in designing the cord came from concern over wire exposure. A double zipper mechanism was used to keep the zipper open only under the outlet so the wires would not be dangerous. The outlet box was made with a hinge so the user could easily get into it and fix it if a wire is broken or the zipper is caught. The bottom layer has three rails that are held down on the track with springs so that the outlet doesn't come off and cause something bad to happen. 

The Drum Garden

Nick Caruso and Maxwell Glenn

Sam and Cuddles

Mariam Arida and Lainey Kerr
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 Sam & Cuddles was inspired by and made in honor of Yusuf Arida, a young 8-year-old boy with autism who is very dear to the author.  A lot  of the scenarios in this book were based of Yusuf’s own experiences and input; tying shoes, being nervous from loud sounds, and getting called out for his quirks. The book's aim is not only to give Yusef the motivation to be and do what he wants, but also to motivate other kids with autism . In addition, the hope is to show others that those with autism are as smart and capable of great things as anyone else. 

Shattered Stained Glass

Lucy Gunther and Dina Pfeffer

Lucy Gunther

Stained Glass Shards is a wearable that represents the way that glass shatters and rejoins. It is inspired by the Fragments from Reims Cathedral that is exhibited at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Fragments from Reims Cathedral is a stained glass window that was shattered by German bombs in World War I and after the war the fragments were collected and set back together in a new abstract way. The shattered glass wearable helps people to realize that beauty can be made out of something that is broken. It brings art out of a museum and lets people experience it in a new and interesting way. This wearable was for a Boston Latin School Step Dancer, who modeled the wearable in a performance on February 19th at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The wearable uses colored acrylic triangles and elastic string so that as the model walks the pieces spread apart and join back together. 

Mod-Glo Coffee Table

Dina Pfeffer and Henry Blackburn
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Dina: The Mod-Glo Coffee Tables, a set of coffee tables shaped like simple polygons with built-in foot rests, will provide work or eating surfaces for NuVu students and staff that are interactive and enjoyable to use. They are a redesign of an old project, Light Up Coffee Table, a set of tables that encouraged collaboration by lighting up small coffee tables  with different colors when they were connected. Whereas the Light Up Coffee Table used complex electronics to facilitate multiple color changes of light, the Mod-Glo Coffee Tables employ a simpler approach. The brackets holding together the side panels of the table have two copper connection points on each side, which flank a hidden magnet. When two tables attach magnetically, the connections complete a circuit that lights an LED strip inside an acrylic-walled chamber of each table. These tables will provide sturdy surfaces for an individual using the new couches and chairs, and they will create a beautifully lit communal table when snapped together. The hope is that the community will benefit from the functionality and interactive properties of the Mod-Glo Coffee Tables.

Guiding Shield

Isabella LaCava and Isabelle Ramras

Izzy Ramras: 

Guiding Shield is a wearable art piece inspired by the Medusa mosaics in the garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  Guiding Shield has been adapted from a previous project, Focal Point, which used similar shapes and concepts; however, Guiding Shield incorporates only the best parts of Focal Point in addition to many new elements. Guiding Shield includes four arm bands and two shoulder bands that incorporate mirrored mosaic tiles embedded into each frame. Additionally, the frames are all angular shield-like shapes. These design components parallel numerous aspects of both the original artwork itself as well as the story of Medusa and Perseus. For example, the original art is made of mosaics and the mirrored shield plays an important role in the Greek myth. Finally, no one can actually go into or touch the garden at the museum, so the arm bands are suspended away from the body so it's not touched by the model's arm. Guiding Shield has been featured on two different occasions: the first at a fashion show at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum alongside other art-inspired wearables, and the other at a book signing with the founder of Boston Fashion Week. The goal of Guiding Shield is for the viewers to enjoy its aesthetic as well as learn about where it came from and the story behind it. 

Izzy LaCava:

Guiding Shield is a wearable that allows people to question fashion norms and the boundary between clothing and art. The wearable was chosen to be worn in two fashion shows, one at the Isabella Stewart Garden Museum and another at the book launch for a book by the creator of Boston Fashions Weeks. The wearable is meant to evoke the myth of Perseus and Medusa, the sight of whose head of snakes turns all viewers to stone. Perseus was able to defeat Medusa using a mirrored shield to prevent looking directly at Medusa. Guiding Sheild is a later iteration of a previous project called Focal Point. Guiding Sheild includes similar concepts but extends them to connect the wearable to the inner garden in the museum, which is decorated with Medusa mosaics. For example, similar to  Focal Point, Guiding Sheild consists of assembled pentagons with mirror surfaces that increase in size to represent Perseus's growing shield, but Guiding Sheilds mirrors are mosaic to represent the mosaic pieces that create Medusa at the museum. Guiding Sheild is created out of acrylic rather than wood to give the project a more finished look. The wearable incorporates an element of obliqueness, in that the acrylic attaches to an elastic armband with strings so that the mosaic mirrors hover above the wearer, much as Perseus does not actually look at Medusa.


Natalie Hatton and 3 OthersJanice Tabin
Clio Bildman
Lia Darling


Accept Me and Just Like You educate the public about mental health in teenagers in a way that is easily accessible. 25% of teenagers have an anxiety disorder and 1 in 200 children have OCD. These are mental illnesses that need to be talked about more to be understood so that we can find help for others. These two documentaries consist of interviews with many experts; two psychiatrists, a trainee at McLean Anxiety Mastery Program at McLean Hospital, a person who is a specialist in OCD and anxiety disorders, and two people who have been diagnosed with OCD and anxiety. The documentaries discuss how to decrease the shame connected with mental illness, early signs of illness, and the importance of mental health education in high schools. People shy away from talking about mental health because it is an uncomfortable topic, but some mental illnesses first manifest during the teenage years, so mental health should be talked about comfortably in high school. This documentary helps teens, schools, and parents by providing education on mental health and how and where to find help. This documentary aspires to change the culture around mental illness: the way people with a mental illness are viewed and how people talk about mental health. It will also encourage schools to bring mental health education into their curricula. The viewer will watch this documentary either in school or at home either because they want to learn more about mental health, they worry someone they know is showing signs of illness and they want to help, or they are struggling themselves and don't know where to seek help.


Mental health is seldom talked about, and rarely in a constructive way, which limits people's resources if they want to seek help for themselves or a friend. Just Like You and Accept Me aim to help teens struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety Disorders, and support their friends and family. Educating teens can help them inform the treatment decisions made by their parents or guardians, who can sometimes make the wrong choices because they are fearful for their child's future or don't understand what their child is going through. Common misconceptions are made about OCD and Anxiety Disorders, such as the idea that people with OCD are just neat freaks, or that people with Social Anxiety are just shy. Misconceptions like these are harmful because they induce an atmosphere of shame and lack of sympathy that makes these disorders hard to address. People with mental illness are more likely to get better the earlier that they get treatment;  this film challenges the stigma associated with OCD and Anxiety, and addresses directly and informatively the issues that aren't talked about so people can get treatment as fast and effectively as possible. 



Just Like You and Accept Me: documentaries that raise awareness about mental illness, specifically anxiety and  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in adolescents. The film interviews people who suffer from these illnesses, and people who are experts on the topic. 

One out of five people will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime, and it's time that society stops attaching such a negative connotation to it. These documentaries aim to help adolescents struggling with mental illness. In environments where mental health is rarely talked about, people tend to doubt people who say they are suffering from these ailments or to ignore the signs. People with mental illness have improved outcomes from early treatment, but often people go undiagnosed and untreated for years before they find the help they need.  These films try to give people a less toxic view of mental illness and those who suffer from it.  


Jakob Sperry and Satchel Sieniewicz

A device to help a wounded marine do butterfly pull-ups, a type of pull-up used in CrossFit, with more ease and comfort.

Evan, a wounded marine, lost use of his right elbow in an accident while he was serving as a marine. He still enjoys doing CrossFit and other athletic activities. In order to do pull-ups, he throws an exercise band over the bar and puts it under his arm to supply resistance while he does the pull-up. This solution works but it hurts and cuts his armpit. The Pull-Up Assistant was designed to allow him to do pull-ups in comfort. This device consists of a silicone shell with foam padding to keep the exercise bands from cutting his arm. There are two parts, One that covers his underarm and one that covers the rise of his torso. There is a hard bridge between these pieces keeping his arm roughly in one position.

The Pull-Up Brace

Nick Caruso and Ronan McCarthy

Ronan's Brief: The Pull Up Brace: A protective wearable that keeps resistance bands around the bicep and allows proper form for a one-hand pull-up without irritating the skin.

The pull up brace is a custom design for a former marine named Evan Reichenthal. Evan lost his leg and has a fused elbow from stepping on an IED while deployed in Afghanistan. This does not keep him from  competing in athletic events such as crossfit, spartan races, and  marathons. One difficulty Evan has had in his training is that he can't use his fused right arm to do pull-ups., His solution has been to wrap a band around his bicep to be able to do the pull ups. While he is not one to complain, frequently this band moves up into his armpit which irritates his skins and compromises his form. The pull-up brace aims to bring allow proper form and comfort while still being light and simple. The basic design uses PVC, Memory foam, and elastic straps. The PVC provides a strong outside while the memory foam cushions Evan's arm.  The elastic straps allow the two PVC pieces to clamp together so they do not pull apart

Nick's Brief: The Pull-up Brace: a protective brace that attaches to a resistance band to allow anyone to perform a one-armed pull-up. The brace is designed for a former Marine, Evan Reichenthal, who lost his right leg and forearm during his time in Afghanistan.  Evan has never lost his Marine mentality or work ethic. Evan was medically dead six times and had surgery every day for three months. When he was not in surgery, he would attach a stool to his leg and try to walk. Within a year, Evan was walking and running again. Evan continues to exercise at a Marine level today, competing in various spartan races, marathons, while working out frequently. Because he cannot bend his right arm, he does all of his workouts with his left arm. He is able to do 30 reps of pull-ups with his left arm while putting his right arm in a resistance band and use his right shoulder to create the bounce back. The problem is that the band cuts his underarm and he has to take multiple days off from pull-ups in order to heal. The pull-up brace allows Evan's arm to not have direct contact from the band to his skin. There are two parts which strap on to each other, provided with protective padding. The arm parts are connected to a foam protection to support the armpit. This maximizes Evan's ability to do pull-ups in comfort, without cutting himself and interrupting his workout. The device is made not to do the work for Evan, but to maximize his workout. With this device, those who have lost their arm in combat can still workout at the level they desire. Working out not only can help one’s physical health, but one’s mental health as well. There is a form of therapy when it comes to exercise and the hope of the Pull-up brace is to create something strong and comfortable while allowing one to surpass their potential.