DME – Discover Mechanical Engineering


Discover Mechanical Engineering is an exciting hands-on introduction to Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Through DME, you will gain proficiency in a machine shop, build a cool soccer-playing robot, learn about MIT, meet other freshmen, have your questions answered by upperclassmen, interact with famous faculty, explore Boston, participate in fun activities like sailing on the Charles River, and get a head-start on the MIT experience!

The Robot

DME's core activity is building your own radio-controlled soccer-playing robot, affectionately called a SoccerBot. Our machine shop introduction will teach you how to use band saws, drill presses, belt sanders, plastic benders, soldering irons, and more. You'll then use these newly acquired skills to build your very own SoccerBot! No previous machine shop experience is assumed: DME is targeted towards machine shop novices. We'll teach you everything you need to know and more.

The Contest

DME culminates by handing YOU the controls—in a double-elimination robotic soccer tournament held at the Boston Museum of Science. Eight teams of four players each will compete until one set of robots emerges victorious! Afterwards, you'll get to take your robot and a tethered control box home with you, to show off to your family and friends.

The Perks

In addition to building SoccerBots, you will:

  • Tour cutting-edge research facilities and engineering firms
  • Receive an introduction to MIT and Boston through exciting activities 
  • Meet other incoming freshmen and make friends before Orientation
  • Meet upperclassmen and form h4 bonds that will last beyond DME
  • Meet distinguished faculty and alumni with in-depth knowledge of MIT & engineering
  • Have lots of fun!

What Will We Do?

DME is a headlong dive into the intense nature of life at MIT. It runs from 8 am to 10 pm for five fun-packed days. Much of the day is devoted to working on robots and learning about engineering through tours and faculty interaction, but the evenings are for lighthearted social events and getting to know your peers, MIT and Boston. Here's the tentative schedule to give you an idea of the pace and activities:

  • Wednesday: Get trained to use the machine shop, start making parts for your robot, relax or play sports at the beautiful George's Island in Boston Harbor, and head out with your mentor group for a dinner in Boston.
  • Thursday: Work some more on robot part and tour some of MIT's most exciting research labs.
  • Friday: Assemble your robot, go on a tour of a mechanical engineering core company to learn about life after school, and talk to professors over dinner.
  • Saturday: Test and decorate your robot, decide on your team strategy, and make team posters in preparation for the Final Contest.
  • Sunday: Celebrate with the Final Contest and the Farewell Lunch!

Don't take our word for it - hear what freshmen from previous years have to say:

"I couldn't have had a better opportunity to learn about MIT and everything that goes on here. Also, the mentors were extremely friendly and I never felt weird asking questions."

"The staff and mentors were fantastic. I've never felt so comfortable with people in only five days of knowing them. I really learned a lot about mechanical engineering and I learned just as much about Boston and MIT life too. It was an awesome program. Thank you for letting me participate."

"It is soooo good! I loved it! I have one regret and that is that it ended."

"I just want to thank everyone for such an amazing experience! I know how much time and effort went into this and it all paid off. You all did an awesome job and were incredibly informative and friendly! Thank you!"

"DME changed my whole perspective of MIT. Besides learning about Mechanical Engineering and building soccer bots, I realized that MIT is a friendly place."

DME Specifics

  • Dates: Wednesday, August 22 – Sunday, August 26
  • Place: First year students will be housed in their assigned dormitory.
  • Available Spaces: 32
  • Cost: No charge

DME is limited to 32 students due to size constraints. Since DME tends to be very popular, we encourage you to apply to DME and a backup FPOP program.

We hope to see you soon!