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"Make the Breast Pump Not Suck!" Hackathon

A human-centered hackathon

A human-centered hackathon

The "Make the Breast Pump Not Suck" Hackathon brought together 150 parents, engineers, designers and healthcare professionals to re-imagine the Breast Pump, a fundamental yet overlooked technology.

(With Catherine D'Ignazio, Alexandra Metral, CW&T, and Tal Achituv. Photos by Mason Marino).

Cross-disciplinary teams

Cross-disciplinary teams

We helped our participants build diverse teams that included breast pump users, engineers, designers, and more.

A family-friendly event

A family-friendly event

Typically, hackathons draw from a young, male, technically sophisticated audience. We wanted to create a different kind of event, one that welcomed people with different expertise and made room for parents—and yes, babies!

Center the needs of real users

Center the needs of real users

Prior to the event, we received thousands of e-mails from moms across the country who had suggestions and requests for improving the Breast Pump. At the hackathon, we created an "idea wall" with excerpts from these e-mails and helped our participants incorporate user stories into their prototypes.

Creative materials

Creative materials

Motors, tubes, fabrics, 3D printing, and more! From sewing machines to soldering irons, we equipped our participants with everything they might need to prototype their ideas.

Building on existing technologies

Building on existing technologies

Participants at the event took apart existing Breast Pumps (generously donated by our sponsoring companies) to understand how they work and incorporate new features.

Press coverage

The hackathon started a large, public conversation about maternal health technologies and was featured by The New YorkerCNNFast CompanyElle MagazineThe New York Times, and many more.

To see what participants experienced, check out the official documentary produced by ASKLabs (above) or check out the project homepage.