This research is part of our efforts to explore new and future applications, so unlike other projects that build on previous research, we basically started from zero, which certainly posed a challenge.
The MIT philosophy toward developing new ideas focuses on making real-world models and prototypes on a weekly schedule - "Just make it already!" So we discuss ideas, identify challenges, conceptualize a solution, 3D print a prototype, and conduct tests to see how things turn out. And again, we do this all in just one week, repeating the process every week - the pace and mentality at MIT is completely different to anywhere else.
This trial-and-error focused style is extremely motivating and rewarding, because you actually get to hold your theories and models in hand on a weekly basis. This really drives home that feeling of success or progress and makes it easier to identify new or remaining issues. I think many companies could learn to apply faster, leaner development cycles by following a similar style.