This is the first post of our new interview series to introduce our eight finalists in the week leading up to the Launch finals. To see Lux Labs and other teams pitching on the big stage, come to the Launch finals at Kresge Auditorium on May 11!

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Team Name: Lux Labs

Team Members: Yichen Shen, Spencer Powers

Q: Give us a 1-sentence pitch of your idea!

A: We use advanced optical nanomaterials to control light, improve optics, and reduce energy consumption.


Q: Can you tell us about your 'aha' moment?

A: I [Yichen] was working on my laptop on a train to NYC, and I forgot to bring the charger with me, and suddenly my battery sent me an alarm that it got low. At the same time, since I’m working on a confidential project, I have to sit in an awkward way to prevent the passenger sitting besides me to see what is on my screen. At that moment, I thought: it would be really nice if I can push a button, and the light that goes to his direction can instead come to me, which will allow me to lower the display brightness and save my laptop’s battery. Then I realized that I actually just invented such a material that can do this in my lab!


Q: Why did you decide to apply to the 100K?

A: The MIT 100K is a great opportunity to help us form our business plan and go-to-market strategy. Mentors and judges ask tough questions which force us to re-evaluate our assumptions.


Q: What is the biggest misconception you've discovered about entrepreneurship?

A: That there are ping pong tables. We don’t play ping pong.


Q: So, how does your team blow off steam and relax?

A: We go to the Muddy and drink a few beers until we can’t recite pi...


Q: What are you most looking forward to for the Launch finals?

A: Meeting other people also passionate about startups, getting feedback from judges to help us move faster forward, and most importantly, just enjoying the big stage and the show!