BWSI Course Listing

Summer Program Course Overview

The MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute Summer Program will consist of the following courses.

Autonomous RaceCar

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer 9 teams of students, each with its own MIT-designed RACECAR (Rapid Autonomous Complex Environment Competing Ackermann steeRing) robot, the opportunity to explore the broad spectrum of research in autonomy, learn to collaborate, and demonstrate fast, autonomous navigation in a Mini Grand Prix to Move... Explore... Learn...Race!

Autonomous Air Vehicle Racing

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students the opportunity to explore some new areas of research and to design their own autonomous capabilities for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). The students will work in teams to develop algorithms for deployment to an advanced quadrotor, the Intel Aero Ready-To-Fly Drone. They will use the Robot Operating System (ROS), popular open-source libraries, and custom algorithms to program the quadrotors to compete in a racing event.

Autonomous Cognitive Assistance (Cog*Works)

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students an opportunity to learn about the cutting-edge in machine learning. Cog*Works consists of project-based modules for developing machine learning apps that leverage audio, visual, and linguistic data. Students will work with experts in these fields to learn foundational mathematical, programming, and data analysis skills, which will enable them to create their own algorithms and neural networks from scratch. Ultimately, they will design their own cognitive assistants.

Hacking a 3D Printer

Beaver Works Summer Institute will introduce students to the fundamentals of 3D printing and teach techniques for tuning hardware and software to optimize performance.  Students will modify these components to do something completely new. Along the way students will learn how to tackle a difficult problems.


Beaver Works Summer Institute will give students a chance to explore the exciting intersection of data science and medicine. Students will build a solid foundation in the fundamentals of probability and statistics, and learn the basics of coding and machine learning techniques through a series of online teaching modules.  During the summer, students will work in groups alongside Cambridge-area clinicians and data scientists to gain hands-on experience applying advanced machine learning and data mining to solve real-world medical challenges.

Embedded Security and Hardware Hacking

Beaver Works Summer Institute will cover several cyber security topics with a focus on threats that are especially concerning for embedded systems.  These topics include:  embedded software security, cryptographic protocol attacks, JTAG and UART probing, side-channel analysis and fault-injection, and hardware Trojans. This background will help prepare students for the summer course, during which they will perform security assessments of multiple implementations of an embedded system:  a wireless home door lock.  Teams will compete to see who can find and fix the most security flaws in these systems.

Build a Cubesat

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students the opportunity to select the mission, test components and design a CubeSat. Using a 1U CubeSat (10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm), the four-week course will guide the class through the design trades, assembly, and testing of a CubeSat with an imaging payload. The design will be sent to a NASA competition selecting payloads for future flight.

Unmanned Air System–Synthetic Aperture Radar

Beaver Works Summer Institute will introduce students to Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging as they build and fly a radar on a small Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and use it to image scenes around campus. Students will work in small teams alongside their instructors to gain hands-on experience building, integrating, and processing data from a radar to generate SAR images. Teams will compete to create the UAS-SAR capable of producing the clearest images possible.

Remote Sensing for Crisis Response

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students the opportunity to explore the exciting intersection of data science and crisis response. During the course, the students will learn to understand the basics of Python, Git, machine learning, and image processing through a series of online teaching modules. Students will explore real world datasets ranging from drone imagery of regions to disaster imagery collected by the human volunteers of the Civil Air Patrol. Students will develop experience in an area of data science that is poised to play a critical role in understanding our world.

Assistive Technology

Beaver Works Summer Institute will help students develop product design, rapid prototyping, and product testing skills in the context of building a technology solution for people living with disabilities. We will tackle real problems faced by people in the Greater Boston Area, and learn to work with the end users, stepping through the engineering design process together to come up with personalized, creative solutions.