Image of 2.70/2.007 MIT's Most Famous Class 2.70/2.007 MIT's Most Famous Class
2.70/2.007 MIT's Most Famous Class, 1970–Present

In 1981, Professor Woodie Flowers handed a syllabus to students enrolled in course 2.70, the Mechanical Engineering “Introduction to Design” class, with a simple but maddening challenge: “Design and build a robotic system for putting a round peg in a square hole, while a competing system tries to put another peg into the same hole.” Students received a box of supplies—a variety of cardboard tubes, cords, two motors, sprockets, and rubber bands—and a series of lectures that introduced the fundamentals of design. The course was and is demanding, but students love it. Hundreds now pack the “final competition” cheering on friends, the most elegant contraption, or even the biggest failure. For four decades, this hands-on course has taught “gracious professionalism.” Recently renamed course 2.007 “Design and Manufacturing,” it has become one of MIT’s iconic classes, inspiring other engineering education programs at the Institute, such as the 2.009 and 6.270 classes, and at other institutions, including the FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students.

Rolling Murderer Robot
Deren Hansen
The Frog Robot
Jonathan Connell

photo: Michael Cardinali for MIT Museum

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