The D-Lab at MIT: The People's Engineering Team

Science for the Public and Friends of the Robbins Library
May 29, 2013 at the Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Amy Smith, Founder and Director of the famous and award-winning D-Lab at MIT ("Design-Develop-Disseminate") discusses the D-Lab's unique innovative approach to improving life in the world's poorest nations. Collaborations of D-Lab engineering students and villagers in developing nations create effective tools and equipment to improve lives. The D-Lab collaborations demonstrate that the capability for innovation exists even in impoverished communities with very limited resources, and that people everywhere can learn to improve their lives significantly. Meet Amy Smith


The D-Lab is an outstanding humanitarian project and a very effective one. One objective is to help communities in developing nations to create engineering solutions for specific needs in health care (including prostheses), water purification, grain processing, and other concerns, using mostly the materials at hand. The D-Lab provides workshops to get people started, and soon villagers themselves develop equipment and even start businesses.

The second objective of D-Lab is to engage MIT engineering students in the design-development-dissemination process. The D-Lab courses are so popular that students are accepted only by lottery. Engineering students and ordinary people collaborate on simple, elegant and inexpensive equipment that meets specific local needs around the world. D-Lab is a whole new way of learning for everyone involved.

D-Lab Scale Ups Awards a Total of $15000 to Three MIT Social Entrepreneurs

SftPublic's 2011 visit to the D-Lab

MIT News Nov 2012 about D-Lab's USAID grant and D-Lab projects

2011 Olympus Innovation Award

Amy Smith on the 2010 TIME 100 World's Most Influential Peoplelist

Amy Smith at the 2006 TED Conference

Amy Smith's 2004 MacArthur "Genius" AwardMIT News article