Physics, Design and Social Justice Presentations

The students in my Honors Physics course were given the following challenge back in November: Design a physics-based solution to a social justice problem.  We use the Columbia Business School’s The Designing for Growth Field Book as a guide for students to develop their designs through the lens of empathy.

On Tuesday, the student design teams presented their designs to a panel of experts: venture capitalist and innovator Kelly Hoey, Marymount’s creative technologist in residence Kate Godwin, and myself.  Their designs were innovative and creative.

They included:

The Litter Bug


This is a combination trash can and lunch table.  The table has an indicator light to report when the trash can is filled.  We suggested adding a mechanism to text the cleaning staff when the can needs emptying.

The Shaker Waker


Have trouble waking up in the morning?  Or does your physical condition preclude you from hearing the alarm.  The Shaker Waker slides under your mattress and will physically shake the bed when it is time to wake up.

Other projects included:

  • B Fit. The brace for injuries with temperature. A brace that uses an Arduino in order to heat or cool an injured area.
  • Smudge-Be-Gone. These are magnetic rings that are worn on the hands that attach to rings on a writing utensil to keep your hand off the paper and to reduce smudging.
  • The Foam Foot. The Foam Foot is meant to make high heel shoes more comfortable for the wearer without changing the shape of the shoe or being uncomfortable.
  • Where Are You Now? This App that uses GPS monitors when students enter and exit the school, enhancing student safety.
  • Mac Mat. A portable computer charger that is placed on top of a desk surface with the ability to simultaneously charge 5 computers.
  • C+ Goggles. These anti-fogging goggles use the laws of thermodynamics to prevent condensation from forming on goggle lenses while keeping the athlete’s face warm.

The design teams now enter the next phase of the design process: taking the feedback to rethink their designs!

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