Open Innovation Fall 2019


Christine Alcindor

The Mindfulness Eating Kit is an assortment of dishware that incorporates meditation into the dining experience as a way to reduce stress, increase focus, and help lessen anxiety or stress-induced eating. It does this by using a series of objects that integrate colors, sounds, and textures, allowing people to unwind while eating.

The Mindfulness Eating Kit is the solution to stress and emotional eating. People that resort to eating as a way to reduce stress often don’t achieve their intended goal. Instead, they end up feeling worse than before. By incorporating various meditation tools, this kit allows people to eat and meditate at the same time, which will, in turn, reduce their stress. This kit is primarily for teens and adults that endure stress daily.  It is also intended for those who have anxiety or are constantly in stress-inducing environments and situations. This could include school or work. The kit is designed like a standard lunch box. In the lunch box, however, there is a compartment for a sandwich, and on top of the sandwich are four tools that tackle four vital parts of meditation: breath, visual focus, mantras, and soothing sounds. The sandwich is cut into quarters, and each quarter is eaten sequentially after using the tools to complete parts of the mindfulness process. Once completing the four steps, the user should feel more relaxed, allowing their mind to be more clear and ready to tackle the rest of the day. This process is meant to become a daily routine that is integrated into one's lifestyle, to continuously implement mindfulness. It directly incorporates meditation into eating which is much more effective at reducing stress and improving focus than the alternative solution, using food alone.

Ustrum 2

Christopher Fletcher and 2 OthersOllie McKay
Andrew Daniels


The uStrum was designed for Lee Cusack, a programmer with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy. Lee has always had a love for music but has never been able to play the guitar due to his lack of mobility. The goal of the uStrum is to give Lee the chance to authentically play the guitar. My partners and I have a great passion for music and guitar, which made us relate to Lee in this common interest. The uStrum is made up of two parts: the first is an electronically driven mechanism that helps the player press down a chord, while the second is a device that allows him to strum the guitar. These mechanisms utilize the limited range of motion that Lee can produce with his arm movements.

We interviewed Lee to find out what he has always wanted to do but hasn't been able to because of his physical limitations. He then told us about his passion for music, so we thought it would be amazing for him to have the experience of playing the guitar in an authentic way. We broke down the different aspects of playing guitar and thought about ways that would allow him to easily control the chords and strumming. We worked with electronics and attached a sensor that pushes down a chord shape onto the fretboard when Lee's hand hovers over the device. The strumming mechanism works when Lee grabs a handle with his other hand, which triggers a switch that moves a servo arm to pluck the strings. The uStrum allows Lee to have the joyful experience of playing the guitar in a modified yet authentic way, and gives him the chance to rock to his favorite song, "About A Girl" by Nirvana.


The uStrum is a device that gives Lee Cusack the ability to play the guitar. There are two parts: one that presses down chords on the neck, and another that helps the user strum. Lee is a man who was born with cerebral palsy. This means that he has little to no control over his body. I chose to do this project because I was optimistic that it would work, and that by the end, Lee would be able to play guitar.

He can move his arms a little bit, used them to play the guitar. To play chords, there is a sensor that he can move his hand over. When he does this, it uses two servos to press down a chord on the neck of the guitar. With his other hand, he holds onto a handle on the body of the guitar. He slides the handle towards him, which presses a switch that makes another servo move back and forth and strum the guitar strings. This means that Lee can use both arms to control the guitar. If Lee wanted to, he could now play any guitar using the uStrum when and where he wants to.


The uStrum was created for Lee Cusack, a UX Designer with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. My partner and I are both passionate guitar players and we wanted to share our love of guitar with Lee. We created a device that gives him the ability to strum and play chords. This device can also be used by a wide range of people with motor difficulties.

The device works as follows: to play chords, there is a sensor that he can move his hand over. This helps him to mimic the movement of playing chords while not requiring the motor function required to play a chord. When he activates the sensor, two servos press down on a chord on the neck of the guitar. For strumming, Lee uses his other hand to hold onto a handle on a remote. Lee pulls on the handle, which triggers a servo with an arm that strums the strings. Only a very small pulling motion is required.

Maddie Johnson-Harwitz

The Stand Assist:

An assistive device to bring more independence to the elderly by helping them stand up from a sitting position with more ease and comfort.

Modern society does not do enough to assist the elderly and care for their mental health, as much of the elderly population struggles with feelings of helplessness. The Stand Assist is designed to combat these issues and enable the elderly to feel empowered and independent. The Stand Assist was designed for a client named Prisilla, who was severely weakened by a seven month long coma. Due to her weakened muscles, she has extreme difficulty getting up from a chair. It can take her ten tries to fully stand up, as she attempts to build momentum and throw her body forward, catching herself on her walker. The device uses her momentum and then actuates to assist her to rise into the standing position. The design of the device is minimalist and elegant to appeal to a very proper Prisilla, who was reluctant at first to use an assistive device.

Although it was designed with Prisilla in mind, the Stand Assist is an assistive device that can empower many elderly people who struggle getting up. The improved design fits as two knee braces connected across the legs at the knee joint. The motors on the outside of each brace are started by a single switch, which straightens the braces until they are fully extended, pushing the user from a sitting position to a standing position. 


Hugo Fowler

Presentation - Small Medium

Aviv Hirsch

Small Medium is a ghost-themed comic zine that serves as a pilot for a larger series of comics. Small medium is geared towards teens and has supernatural and murder mystery elements. Each comic follows a monster of the week format where the protagonists have to help a different ghost complete their final wish before they can move to what comes next. In the pilot, the main villain is introduced as Moss's mother, who is currently under the possession of the same serial killer who killed Cherie. The mechanic of ghosts' final wishes is also introduced; these wishes are the regrets and repressed emotions that stop them from moving forward. The comic has a limited print of some copies and consists of ten pages. The art is all hand inked with a grey tone added. The style is simple for the main characters but is broken for depictions of scarier ghosts. The comic is a pilot for future comics that would more greatly explore the characters and world-building. This comic is meant to echo with people who are coping with their own ‘ghosts’ or parts of their past that are holding them back. While the main goal of the comic is to be entertaining, seeing fictional characters overcome struggles similar to one’s own can be extremely empowering.


John Flynn Lydon


Anara Magavi

Nuclarity Presentation

Ethan Smyke

Presentation Link

Internet of Beings Presentation

Andrew Daniels


Jiyoo Jye