The “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” Hackathon

Art & Design, Community Organizing

I was a lead organizer for the “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” Hackathon at the MIT Media Lab. On Sept 20-21, 2014, 150 parents, engineers, designers, babies and healthcare givers gathered to address the profoundly terrible experience of breast pumping. Here is the official mini-doc produced by Alberta Chu and ASKLabs:

The hackathon garnered a lot of media attention – more than 80 separate stories. It was named one of the top 20 reasons to love Boston by Boston Magazine. It was featured in Forbes, The New YorkerCNN, and Fast Company. It was discussed on the BBC World News, NPRCBC, and WNYC. It went viral on social media, where users applauded the effort, offered their ideas, criticized the winners, and debated whether breast pumps should or should not suck by definition. For a very short introduction, this video does a really nice job of telling the story

We learned a lot in the process – about hackathons, breastfeeding supportive technologies, and maternal/family health. While some of the teams have dissolved, others are continuing to work on pushing the field forward.

Here are some of the places to read more about the project:

Co-authored Research papers: