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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

"A surreal experience"

Kevin Sun '23

Major | Biochemistry

Track | Innovation

My time in the Hatchery has been a surreal experience however perhaps not in the conventional sense. Yes, the Hatchery has provided a unique sense of novelty and taught me many useful critical thinking skills. I came into the Hatchery with intentions to simply learn these skills necessary to implement an idea and turn a prototype into a marketable product. I planned on using the problem I’m tackling simply as a means to refine my skills and learn. However, what I failed to expect is the passion the Hatchery has cultivated for my project.

I came as part of a team with my partner, Rachelle Huh, who came up with the idea of developing an app that acted as a traffic aid which could help color deficient drivers drive under nonideal conditions. I was brought on for my interdisciplinary knowledge in human anatomy and computer science. Although my motivations started as self-serving, I grew more and more compassionate for the market we were catering to. I originally didn’t personally know anyone who had difficulty with color blindness making the issue seem depersonalized. However, after doing more market research in an effort to better understand the efficacy of our product, we were met with a wave of positive outreach and a responsive community. We started learning about this community on reddit where we started a poll to better gauge what population of colorblind people actually struggled with traffic lights and asked them to elaborate on what type of color blindness they struggled with and what specific difficulties they had with traffic lights.

From here we contacted users for more thorough interviews and interest in our prototype. During these interviews I met a multitude of people like Adam, who drives through his hometown of Ohio without peace of mind whenever there is an overcast - making it especially difficult to tell which light is which. He worries about the day he grows careless and gets in an accident. However, Adam and many participants interviewed remained hopeful and were ecstatic to help going as far to light up with enthusiasm when we told them we were working on a driving aid to supplement their efforts while driving and bolster their confidence. Their responsiveness to our product pushed my personal mission beyond just learning the skills and critical thinking techniques to develop and market a prototype for my future endeavors.

While the Hatchery did deliver on teaching me things such as ways to brainstorms innovative solutions and access to success stories to learn from, my goal wasn’t limited to just learn anymore. I wanted to make a real-world impact on a community that I had could do genuine good for. I find it truly heartwarming that despite the adversity the Hatchery program has faced, the Baker team are still able to embody that innovative mindset and continue to cultivate our talents and bring out the best in us. I can’t begin to voice my gratitude to the opportunities the Hatchery program has provided. In this day and age of civil and social unrest amongst a global pandemic, the ability to still do good and work towards a brighter tomorrow is especially valuable. I am honored to be participating in a program that not only cultivates the talents of its participants but provides us the outlet to innovate and change the world around us for the better. Thank you Renee, Chris, Lisa, and anyone else who has worked behind the scenes to keep this program running.

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