When Alex Hattori found MIT yo-yos at The Coop during his Campus Preview Weekend, he was really excited since they played an integral role in his life. Hattori had won first place in the dual yo-yo-division of the National Yo-Yo Contest for the past six years in a row, according to MIT News.
When he decided to choose MIT, there were two classes that peaked his interest, which included yo-yoing and robotics. In course 2.007 (Design and Manufacturing I), Hattori designed a robot from scratch that he competed with in a robot competition. His 2.008 course (Design and Manufacturing II), required him to create 50 identical yo-yos using different manufacturing processes.
“I spent a lot of my time building robots and yo-yoing, so the combination of 2.007 and 2.008 sealed the deal for me,” Hattori said.
In the fall, Hattori took 2.008 around the same time he was working on a new design for his yo-yo he wanted to use at the 2018 World Yo-Yo Contest. Hattori and his team made an aluminum mold of his design and injected hot plastic, which then cooled in the mold shape. This is a process many yo-yo companies use.
“A lot of students come to MIT because they want to build things, but they’re usually pretty shy about it at first. Alex wasn’t shy,” said Hattori’s freshman advisor Marty Culpepper, professor of mechanical engineering and MIT’s Maker Czar.
Culpepper helped Hattori find makerspaces and different workshops where he could delve into his passions and create robots and yo-yos. He says he will always tinker around with and create yo-yos and robotics; he even entered the competition on Discover Channel’s BattleBots.
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping, Robotics • robotic grippers • end effectors