Hundreds Participate In 4th Annual Firstbuild Hackathon To Find Next Big Idea For The Home

FirstBuild a global co-creation community backed by  GE Appliances, a Haier company, brought together teams of designers, programmers, engineers, students, makers and other innovators for the 4thAnnual  2018 Hack the Home Hackathon.. With more than USD 10,000 in cash and prizes at stake, competitors spent more than 35 hours ideating the next great product for the home.

The top three teams chosen from a pool of more than 30 competing projects were:

  • First Place (USD3000): My Fridge Safe

Josh Weil, Eric Ott and Alex Vance, a trio of local makers competing in their third FirstBuild hackathon, invented a locking drawer inside a refrigerator designed to keep medications, alcohol and even food safely locked away from children.

  • Second Place (USD2000): Washing Machine Load Sensor

Team Borderless, comprised of engineering experts and makers from Mexico, Colombia and the U.S., integrated sensor technology into a washer that warns owners through a series of lights if there is too much weight, helping consumers avoid unbalanced loads while also saving water and energy from an overfilled machine.

  • Third Place (USD1000): Multi-Dry

A group of GE Appliances Edison engineers built a dishwasher handle that allows warm air to flow through to quickly dry wet hand towels.

“FirstBuild is a community of people who love sharing what they can do, and we’re thrilled to give them a stage to showcase their talents,” said Larry Portaro, executive director of FirstBuild. “Our hackathon offers a glimpse at the future of home products, and we are constantly amazed at the creativity on display. These competitions challenge our makers to think bigger and bolder and, once again, the teams delivered some truly fantastic products.”

The fourth annual hackathon was judged by FirstBuild staff and sponsors as well as by Dr. Emmanuel Collins, Dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering; Grace Simrall, Chief of Civic Innovation and Technology at  Louisville Metro Government; and Jimmy DiResta, renowned Master Maker .Additional prizes were up for grabs as teams were challenged to use sponsored products and materials in innovative ways in their designs. Among the highlights:

  • Veil, a team comprised mainly of students from Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD), won a USD 500 sponsor prize from GE Appliances in the Cooking category for its cooktop concealed in a countertop.
  • Toast-e, a warming drawer for clothing, won a Samtec sponsor prize for using the company’s connectors and cables to bring its idea to life. Team members represented a diverse group of colleges, including Florida International University, Grand Valley State University in Michigan, as well as the University of Toledo and the University of Dayton, both in Ohio.
  • Team Fresh took home FirstBuild’s “Community Favorite” award for rethinking the space inside the refrigerator with its slide-out stack of pantry-style shelves.

The event was also made possible by sponsors like Renesas Electronics, 3M Adhesives, U.S. Steeland Samtec who were on site to support the teams with advice, innovative materials and supplies to build their designs.

“At 3M, we are about helping our customers remake the world of manufacturing,” said Jim McKevitt, Manager, 3M Global Appliance Market. “The FirstBuild Hackathon allows us to share our knowledge of material science and assembly with a new generation of engineers while also gaining insights from their experiences.” —TV Veopar Journal Bureau

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