Last weekend, five members of the team traveled to Washington D.C. for the ACCelerate Festival. The Festival was a celebration and showcase of creativity and innovation; each ACC university sent two projects to showcase at the National Museum of American History alongside one another.

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The team outside the National Museum of American History on Thursday, ready to set up our display for the festival! Left to right: Gaurav, Ian, Jake, Gabriel, Iris

Planning to attend began very early on. We received an email July 2018 from a representative of Duke’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program– Monika, who also was a part of the ACCelerate Festival Steering Committee. We had to apply to attend the festival as only two projects from each school could attend. The project applications were sent around to other ACC Steering Committee members to evaluate. eNable was very lucky to have been accepted!

Preparation for the festival began when students returned to the fall. We definitely wanted to create as vibrant a display as possible. Students began reprinting hands and arms from previous delivered recipients such as Brooke, Nathan, and Chris. However, the students still had current recipients to work on so it was challenging balancing working on the festival while making progress with current recipients and research and development.

As April approached, the team finalized the display, poster, and hands and arms printed. Sometimes the 3D printers would be frustrating due to clogged nozzles and failed prints. The Monday before the festival, consultant Gabriel and team member Juan worked fervently to attempt to pair the myoband arm with the custom-built 3D printed arm.

We arrived to D.C. and checked in on Thursday night, setting up our table on the second floor with a grand view of the Washington monument and National Museum of African American culture and history right behind us!

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Our display at the National Museum of American History! The banner was provided to us by the festival and we brought a poster and an assortment of hands and arms printed.

Exhibits on the 1st floor were themed “Exploring Place and Environment,” 2nd floor “Exploring Health, Mind, and Body” and 3rd floor “Culture and the Arts.”

We had to keep our table staffed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM. There were over 60,000 visitors that weekend and we talked and engaged with a diverse crowd from young kids to high school students to teachers to alumni. The kids loved picking up our devices and trying them out, we delved deeper into 3D printing technology and the technical process with older students, and we received fantastic advice and ideas from alumni and adults working in industry. A few of the most exciting parts of our work for the visitors to see and hear about was Logan’s Spiderman web-shooter, Nathan’s light saber attachment, and the research and development with the myoband and custom arm that we got to open and close with our own arms!

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Gaurav (left) and Iris (right) prepared to greet the coming visitors! We staffed in pairs so we could take on great crowds and piggy back explaining the club’s work.
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Gabriel (left) and Ian (right) prepare to showcase our work with Smithsonian visitors!

We shared our contact information with several people such as teachers requesting video conferencing for workshops in CAD and 3D Printing and visitors who knew amputees who might want an adaptive device. We hoped to showcase what the up and coming technology of 3D Printing has been able to accomplish for social good. Additionally, we wanted to inspire the younger generations to think creatively about the possibilities of social good.


On Friday night, the festival hosted a reception for all the teams. With the Smithsonian closed, the teams were allowed to go around and view each other’s projects and it provided a closed space for us to discuss and view what other universities have been working on. Some of the other projects included Boston College’s JoyceStick, an immersive VR space for interaction that hopes to create the 3D experience of James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”
A team from Louisville, Whiskey Webs, hopes to utilize the content of American whiskey to create unique patterns as a “fingerprint” of whiskey to combat counterfeit drinks.
Pittsburgh’s HERL Lab created a Powered Wheelchair to assist in transport of patient with less burden on the caretaker. Also, Syracuse’s Arctic LiDAR team uses light to 3D map an entire area. Their team traveled to Russia to create a complete VR environment of the arctic coast. These architect students hope to utilize VR technology to visualize and immerse people in interior and exterior design.
Duke’s other project brought was Blue Devil Ocean Engineering which engineered a drone to map the ocean floor! There were also performances throughout the day that engaged all the visitors.
There were several more projects that can be found here: http://acceleratefestival.com/

Aside from the fabulous festival, we also got some time to visit other museums and monuments such as the Newseum, Holocaust Museum, National Museum of Natural History, and National Museum of Air and Space. We also got to stop by to see the beautiful cherry blossoms!

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Left to right: Ian, Gaurav, Jake, Iris

This festival was such a great opportunity for our club and we feel honored to represent Duke at the nation’s capital. It was an exhilarating few days as we witnessed the junction of creativity and innovation and got to showcase how 3D printing is changing the world.

A huge thank you to everybody who made this trip and festival possible– The Smithsonian/National Museum of American History, Virginia Tech and their team, Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship, especially Monika, the Innovation Co-lab and Duke for continued support, and most importantly our eNable club members for working tirelessly each week to innovate and create such amazing and great devices to help people!

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