Last weekend, MIT's Media Lab found itself flooded with hundreds of engineers, designers, health care specialists and educators, all there with one mission in mind: how to make the breast pump not suck (figuratively speaking).
That's a pretty tall order, if you ask us, but the hackathon participants were definitely up for the challenge. During the two-day event (dubbed the "Make the Breast Pump Not Suck" hackathon), 150 curious inventors collaborated on gadgets and gizmos that managed to truly impress the panel of judges.
But only one walked away victorious. The winner was—drum roll, please—the "Mighty Mom," a breast pump "tool belt" that allows Mom to silently pump (yes, silently!) while doing just about anything. Its quiet and not-so-obvious design allows the user to strap it to her waist (and her boobs) while making dinner, taking important business calls and even riding the subway. Since the belt and entire contraption is lightweight and noise-free, the hope is that it can be obscured by a loose-fitting shirt, without causing Mom any public embarrassment.
If you're curious as to what all this would look like, behold this early sketch by its inventors:
Wondering where the Batman logo comes in? The winning team was called "Team Batman," and the main concept behind the "Mighty Mom" was that "every mom is a super mom"—hence the superhero theme.
They even managed to come up with a promo spot for the product in the two days they were there (albeit a rough one).
"The breast pump sucks, but we all love our babies more," said Erin Freeburger, a member of Team Batman. "There seemed to be an obvious need to fix this. And, I think another thing was bringing people's voices to the forefront and realizing that everyone has the same three to five key issues with [the breast pump]."
Freeburger's team was awarded $3,000 for their invention from Vecna Technologies, Inc. and is excited about what possibilities may lie ahead in terms of development. As for the runners-up? "Helping Hands" won $2,000 from Medela, and "Pump IO" took in $1,000 from Naia Health. Another product, called "Second Nature," won a special $500 prize for "Outstanding User-Focused Design" from Moxxley.