Tackling challenges at the intersection of engineering and sports
MIT News Office
Sports companies connect with engineering students and faculty at the second annual STE@M Day.
The second annual STE@M Day, hosted by Sports Technology and Education @ MIT (STE@M), took place last month in the MIT Z-Center, following a day of lab tours for STE@M affiliate companies.
Representatives from sports companies such as Patagonia, Nike, Eastman, Sheico, and PGA, along with sports-related foundations and MIT startups — including Ministry of Supply, a company co-founded by Department of Mechanical Engineering (MechE) alumnus Kevin Rustagi ’11 and Department of Chemical Engineering alumnus Gihan Amarasiriwardena ’11 — toured a combination of 14 labs across six departments, including MechE, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro), and the Media Lab. They learned about everything from xylem filters in Professor Rohit Karnik’s lab and optically responsive fibers in Professor Mathias Kolle’s lab to self-assembly in Department of Architecture Professor Skylar Tibbits’ lab and 3-D body mapping in AeroAstro Professor Dava Newman’s lab.
“The heart of STE@M is a community of people who are passionate about tackling the challenges that lie at the intersection of engineering and sports,” says the group’s leader, Professor Peko Hosoi. “STE@M Day is an event to celebrate this community, to bring all of our partners to campus, and to catalyze interactions between students, faculty, industry affiliates, and athletes whose paths might not normally intersect.”
The daylong event connected affiliate companies with relevant researchers and enabled engineering students interested in sports technology to network with potential employers, who presented some of their state-of-the-art technologies during an engineering “petting zoo” that took place in the afternoon. Students, faculty, and staff had the chance to get up close and personal with the technology and converse with company representatives about the engineering challenges they faced in research and development. Students from the course 8.01S (Sports Physics) also showcased their experiments and final projects to attendees of the petting zoo.
“The spontaneous, personal conversations that arise at these events are absolutely essential for the genesis of fresh, relevant new projects and ideas,” Hosoi says.