When a ringing phone booth appeared in front of the blackboard in 10-250 early this semester, mechanical engineering professor David Wallace entered. Moments later, he emerged as Product Man to announce the theme of “Super” for this year’s 2.009 class, Product Engineering Processes. He charged the class’s eight teams with developing ideas for new super products, such as those to augment human abilities, giving people “super” powers, or those that extend the mind’s reach. The class simulates the experience of engineers working on a design team in a product development firm, from brainstorming new product ideas to designing and building a working alpha prototype. It culminates in an evening of Apple-style launch presentations attended by more than 1,000 product designers, entrepreneurs, academics, and classmates. Last year an additional 15,000 people watched the 2.009 final presentations through a live webcast.
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