2.009's final product presentations are a major fall-semester event at MIT. Image: MIT News
2.009’s final product presentations are a major fall-semester event at MIT. Image: MIT News

In the course description for 2.009, Product Engineering Processes, a few keywords suggest this is a mechanical engineering course with a twist: Creativity. Teamwork. Presentation skills. In 2.009, students work together in teams to design and build new product prototypes—and present their final product on stage, before a crowd of thousands watching in person and via webcast.

In an innovation-driven world filled with startups and good ideas, it’s no longer enough to produce a great product—engineers today also need to know how to effectively explain why people need their product. 2.009 is teaching students skills to take their inventions from prototype to product launch.

Mechanical engineering professor David Wallace, who leads the semester-long course, views his students as members of a design firm. “The learning is fit into this process of how you make a product in the real world, with engineers and designers and business people all working together,” he said in a recent interview with the Boston Globe. “This includes an intense focus on details, collaboration across disciplines, and it all comes together in the final product launch.”

Throughout the fall semester students built prototypes, wrote business plans, and received training in public speaking from instructors and industry mentors. The teams pitched their products at a public event this past December. Among this year’s products were a GPS wristband for skiers, a boxing trainer, and a hands-free baby gate.

Read more about course 2.009 and this year’s product launch at the Boston Globe.

Watch a short video about this iconic engineering class.

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