The Prototyping Fund Showcase returns, more exciting than ever

student with poster board talking about his prototype

Student participants in the 2023 Prototyping Fund Showcase discuss a prototype that monitors epilepsy.

What do an electronic saxophone, a garment made of biologically derived materials that looked fit for a futuristic warrior princess, and a building-climbing robot that could help inspectors pinpoint the location of leaks and other anomalies have in common?

They were all on display at the Spring 2023 Prototyping Fund Showcase, held at the NYU Tandon MakerSpace in late April.

The NYU Prototyping Fund is a collaborative program offered by the Design Lab @ NYU Tandon MakerSpace, the Technology Management and Innovation Department, and New York City Future Manufacturing Collective (NYC-FMC), that awards teams of students up to $500 in the first round of funding and up to $2,000 in the second to be used to build hardware or software prototypes, and connects them with the resources, tools, and mentors they need to bring their ideas to life and move to the next stage of product development, while encouraging multidisciplinary collaboration between students at NYU. This semester, 13 teams comprising students from NYU Stern, Tandon, and Tisch took part, learning the ins and outs of prototyping and seeing firsthand the benefits of iteration.

student playing saxophone
Tandon student playing a virtual saxophone

“Design thinking — the process of reframing a problem, deconstructing preconceived notions, and centering user experience and feedback in the design process — is going to be useful in any sector our students end up in, from electrical engineering to business,” explains Design Lab Manager Molly Ritmiller. “Whether they end up refining their prototypes and taking them to market or not, this funding and semester of hard work have provided them with formative and valuable learning experiences.”

Elizabeth New, the manager of the MakerSpace, added, “One of the best things that we do at the prototyping fund is to give the students the money, time, and space to develop ideas that they are unsure will succeed. They have time to learn how to pivot, adjust and iterate in a supportive space outside the classroom.” She continued, “We had a wonderful cohort focused on areas like sustainability, health, and education — all vital to the future of our world. Dean Jelena often says how optimistic she feels when she looks at the great work being done here, and I couldn’t agree more.” 

By Florentina Sergiou



Participating Projects


Virtual Saxophone: An electronic version of an acoustic saxophone that replicates all of its form and function. James Arsenault (Tandon BS ‘26)

Recircle: A smart waste segregator to use in homes to keep materials away from landfills. Manan Malpani (Tandon MS ‘24)

Epilepsy Monitor System: Epilepsy is a prevalent issue across the world, and this system helps combat that. Charudatta Mhasde (Tandon PhD ‘24)

Aroid PerfectPole: A modular plant support system for vertically climbing
tropical plants. Cara Hsiao (Stern ’26)

BoxeFence: A sensing headgear that makes boxing safer and more enjoyable. Praneeth Challagonda (Tandon MS ‘22) & Riccardo Negri (Tandon MS ‘22)

Solenoid Engine: The Solenoid Engine replaces gas-powered engines with electricity-powered ones to be more energy efficient. Devansh Agarwal (Tandon BS ’24)

Gait Assessment System: A wearable device that can assess asymmetric walking patterns in elders and alert their caretakers. Kiruthiga Chandra Shekar (Tandon MS ‘24)

Terrestrial Adornments: Bimorphic armor and prosthetics to explore the symbiosis between humans and nature. Pamela Buscema (Tandon BS ‘23)

EASEEbot: A robot that records moisture readings on building roofs and exports those readings in respect to its position. Our goal is to help building scientists identify anomalies. Bilal Sher (Tandon MS ‘22), Talha Javed (Tandon MS ‘23), Naveen Kumar (Tandon MS ‘23), Sruti Madhusudhan (Tandon MS ‘23), Siddharth Mahesh (Tandon MS ‘23), & Aravindan Vasudevan (Tandon MS ‘23)

SolarSwivel: A solar panel mount that adjusts the orientation of the panel based on the angle of the sun for maximum power generation. Oluwatobi Adeyefa (Tandon BS ‘23)

Binary Logic Gate Blocks: Modular and chain-able blocks that act as binary inputs or logic gates that can be used to help understand Boolean functions. Frank Dulko (Tisch MS ’23)

Periodt: A portable and seamless device that detects the level of contraction by the uterus and provides heat and pressure upon the uterine area accordingly. Aadi Chidambaram (Tandon BS ’26)

The Real Fake Plant: A plant for those who don’t have a green thumb but still seek the benefits of a real house plant. Christina Capelli (Tisch BA ’23

Student posing with project prototype

MakerSpace Funding

Learn more about the NYU MakerSpace’s funding opportunities for student projects