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Mit design lab - session 1

At our MIT Summer Program, grow your spirit of innovation and dive into hands-on studios focused on design, engineering, science, technology, art and more!

One: July 5 - July 18, 2020
Program Fee:
Campus Dormitory
Completing grades 8 - 11
Program Fee includes:
Tuition, room, 3 meals per day, use of select campus facilities, included excursions and daily activities, bed linens, pillow and towels, 24-hour residential care and support, staff accompanied airport transfer during specified windows.
Not Included:
Airfare/transportation to and from home city, courses and activities shown to have an extra fee, laundry, spending money, souvenirs, meals eaten away from program, airport transfers outside of specified windows, trip cancellation insurance, medical insurance, medical and dental expenses.
In a one-of-a-kind collaboration with NuVu, Summerfuel is proud to offer this two-week, hands-on innovation program for high school students, held at the prestigious MIT Design Studio. NuVu is a full-time innovation school for middle and high school students, where students explore real-world topics, both locally and globally, and create new views of the world. Fueled by creativity, students in this exciting science and technology program learn to use design skills to address large-scale problems and create impactful solutions.

Under the guidance of NuVu design coaches and experts, our students learn how to use the design process to solve complex challenges using creativity, critical thinking and collaboration to form an energized generation of entrepreneurs, designers, makers and inventors.

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DAY 1 • Welcome to Boston
DAY 2 • Studio work @ MIT Design Studios
DAY 3 • Brainstorming & Team Building
DAY 4 • Software/Technology Introduction
DAY 5 • Team Design Phase
DAY 6 • Mid-Review with Coaches
DAY 7 • Explore the city
DAY 8 •   Relaxing in Boston
DAY 9 •   Rebuild, redesign, refine projects
DAY 10 • Desk-Crits with design experts
DAY 11 • Finalize Design Solutions
DAY 12 • Presentation Preparation
DAY 13 • Final Presentations & Critiques
DAY 14 • Goodbye Team!


 08:00 AM – Breakfast
09:00 AM – Design Studio
11:45 PM – Lunch
12:45 PM – Design Studio
03:15 PM - Activities / Free time
06:30 PM – Dinner
07:30 PM – Evening Events
11:00 PM – Check-in




Students live at Harleston Hall, formerly known as South Hall, Tufts University which is located on lower campus, near many university amenities. Air-conditioned bedrooms are mostly doubles furnished with extra-long twin beds, desks, chairs, and a built-in closet. Rooms are on a common hall, and halls are divided by gender and age. Roommates are determined based on the housing questionnaire that students fill out prior to arrival, as well as considering age and geographic diversity. Full bedding and bath towels are provided and replaced weekly. Wi-Fi is available throughout campus. 

University Facilities

Students have full access to libraries, computer lab, student center, and the Fitness Center, featuring racquet courts, a swimming pool, and cardio and weight-training equipment. Nearby basketball and tennis courts are open for use as well.


Breakfast and dinner are taken on campus conveniently located a few minutes from student housing.  A wide variety of menu choices, including vegetarian, vegan, and an organic salad bar.  We are also able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences. Lunches will be provided off-site during class days and any meals during excursions will be provided off campus. Please advise Summerfuel of dietary needs during the application process.



The Farmer’s Market

Every Wednesday, Davis Square plays host to the most varied and well-attended farmer’s market around. It’s a great spot to grab a fresh snack in between classes.

Johnny D’s

This jazz club in Davis Square is a legend, attracting both popular and up-and-coming acts, and offers great New Orleans grub to boot.

Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market

Historic buildings, myriad food choices, and world-class street performances make this a delicious destination.

Newbury Street

This bustling street is packed with a wide range of mall favorites, specialty boutiques, and designer outposts.

North End

Pasta and pastries rule the streets of this historic Italian neighborhood.

Boston Museums

Wander through the Museum of Fine Arts that boasts an impressive world-class collection; The Museum of Science that hosts a variety of interactive exhibits for curious minds; or, the New England Aquarium, home to hundreds of species of marine life.


NuVu is a full-time innovation school for middle and high school students. Derived from “New View,” NuVu is a school where students explore real-world topics, both locally and globally, and create new views of the world. NuVu students learn how to use the design process to solve complex challenges using creativity, critical thinking and collaboration.

Summerfuel is delighted to partner with NuVu to bring this exciting, dynamic summer opportunity to our students.  Summerfuel students joining us at our MIT summer program will work with NuVu faculty - design coaches and experts - at the MIT Design Studio Monday through Friday, 9am - 3pm.

NuVu Studio Processes

This Summer at NuVu, students will 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.

Design Studios

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 wide 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 Coaches work closely with educators and experts in curriculum and assessment design to ensure the maximum educational impact of each program.



Cyborg Enhancements

Each day we see robots that run like animals, humans with superhuman senses, and fantastical virtual worlds as rich and complex as the real world. With these technological advances, humans can become cyborgs who have the potential to experience the world in ways unimaginable to unaltered humans. What are the possibilities for superhuman cyborgs, and what are the pitfalls of becoming part machine? In this studio, we will explore the creation of human-cyborg enhancements. Through this exploration, we’ll look at the fundamentals of mechatronics and use microprocessor electronics, 3D modeling software, and rapid prototyping machines to design, build, and activate these enhancements. What was once a theory is becoming a fantastic reality which we will explore through our cyborg creations!

Augmented Reality Games

With modern medicine and technology, we now have the ability to enhance every aspect of the human body, from appearance, to physical strength, to memory. Scientists, entrepreneurs and corporations are using advanced technologies to enhance the body and mind. Yet all of these enhancements come with larger ethical questions as to how they should be used and by whom, and who should make decisions around them. In this studio, we will tackle these ethical questions through augmented reality video games! These interactive games will reflect upon the impact, role, psychological effects and culture of augmentation technology and have users challenge their views on the ethical implications of this emerging trend.

As part of the studio, we will learn the fundamentals of augmented reality using Unity and Vuforia, and will learn how to program and create 3D models. As well as game design, we will conceptualize a strong narrative for the game and create digital art graphics. Finally, we will move to the production phase and launch their Augmented Reality games!

Food Fabrication Lab

Welcome to NuVu’s Future Food Lab. This is where food, design, technology, and traditional methods come together to solve the world’s biggest food and health-related challenges - by designing innovations that focus on the individual human scale. In this studio, we’ll look at the latest innovations and trends in the food economy, and design future food inventions and products that can be used at the individual scale to transform our food culture.

As part of the studio, we’ll meet some of the leading innovative food companies and restaurants in Boston, and see how they are using food customization, 3D food printing, indoor farming, edible and biodegradable packaging, food computers, and real-time biometrics as ways to tailor an individual food experience. Using the combined power of digital design (computer aided drafting, 3D modeling) and rapid prototyping tools (laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC milling), students will prototype future food products for the Market of the Future. Bring your appetite, and get ready to enter the high-tech food world!

Underwater Soft Robotics

Imagine robots that look more like caterpillars and sponges rather than the giant robotic arms that you see on factory floors...this is the world of soft robotics, and it’s changing the impact of robotics in a wide array of industries. Oftentimes explorers, rescuers, disaster aid workers, and adventurers find themselves in situations where they don’t have adequate tools to fulfill their mission or extremely dangerous situations that put them on the brink of life and death. In this studio, we will examine these situations, at times highly challenging or life threatening, and imagine innovations in devices and equipment that can help these users come out unharmed.

Using innovative textiles, materials, and technologies, we will learn to how to design “soft” wearable tech products that will improve and enhance efforts of people working in high risk contexts. Based on the user group and function, we will design, build and program these products from the ground up, test them, and analyze how their products perform. Through this process, we will learn the basics of electronics, microcontrollers and computer programming. We will learn how to integrate external sensors and actuators into our designs to create responsive products. We will also learn the engineering, 3D modeling, robotics, and programming skills to bring our vision to reality.


Outside of studio time, students enjoy a full and varied schedule of extracurricular activities to choose from. All trips and activities are included in the program fee, so students wil never be at a loss for something to do.


Every weekend, we take full advantage of all that greater New England has to offer, visiting some of its most exciting destinations and attractions. Immerse yourself in the local culture as you explore the city, visit historic landmarks, and indulge in New England cuisine. 


Boston is a big city with small town charm and is easily covered by foot. The city wears its history proudly and walking old cobblestone streets, reliving early stories of the US, is an unforgettable occasion. Add a plethora of museums, shops, and classic Boston eats, and it’s hard to find a richer experience.

Six Flags New England

Experience the fun and thrills of New England’s premier amusement park. Home to the best rollercoasters on the East Coast, Six Flags also includes a water park that is perfect for relief from the summer heat. 


For over 30 years, ImprovBoston has been New England's leading theater and school dedicated to the art of comedy. Voted "Best of Boston" ImprovBoston alumni are featured on The Daily Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and John Oliver's Last Week Tonight.

Beach Day

Summer is not complete without a trip to the beach. Nearby Hampton Beach, New Hampshire offers a nice combination of sun, sand, and the classic American boardwalk. 

Red Sox Game

Enjoy a day at the ball-park with America’s favorite pastime. Cheer for the Red Sox, explore the stadium, and munch on some peanuts and Cracker Jacks!

Daily Activities

Summerfuel offers a wide range of activities each and every day around Cambridge and around Medford/Somerville, led by our faculty, staff, and local contacts.

Past favorites include:

Casino Night
The Summerfuel Olympics
Museum of Natural History
Design a Card
Bubble Soccer
Quad Kick-Ball
Lip Sync Battles
Ultimate Frisbee
Capture the Flag
Jewelry Making
Talent Night Coffee House
Murder Mystery Night
Water Balloon Fights


The safety and well-being of our MIT summer program students is of paramount importance to us. Each program has two distinct specialist teams – one to manage residence life and one to manage academic success. Each staff member is carefully vetted using a written application, personal interview, professional reference check, and required background check.

Residential & Senior Staff 

At Summerfuel we are particularly proud of our extraordinary program directors, staff, and faculty. We believe that strong, nurturing and experienced leadership sets the tone for a sucessful summer program. The senior staff consists of Program Director and an Assistant Director

Residential Advisors (RAs) are an essential part of the Summerfuel experience and are hired to support and act as role models to our students. RAs are college upperclassmen or recent graduates with experience in residential life. They live in residence, with one RA for every ten students. RAs will always be available to organize activities, answer questions, and make sure our students get the most of their summer


Summerfuel students are required to attend all classes and academic workshops each day, and attendance is taken at each class. During free time, students may choose between an organized activity or an individual pursuit such as classwork, laundry, or relaxing in the dorm. Students have freedom to explore with friends within an area surrounding campus defined by the program director. In the evenings, students check in with residence staff who will also use that time to catch up on the day’s events.  Students are honor bound to follow safety protocols both on and off campus, and are required to use the buddy system during free time. 
Read our full code of conduct here

Campus Security

Summerfuel campus is a very safe one, and crime is unusual, but students and staff still take standard precautions of living near a big city. Security is on 24-hour patrol, while campus Emergency Medical Services is available for medical aid to any student in need. Campus is equipped with an emergency blue light system, and dormitories require electronic key access for building entry with a separate key for bedrooms and bathrooms.