The University of Nevada, Reno Innevation Center held its second annual Makerthon competition, presented in collaboration with Click Bond, Inc., March 4-6, 2022.
The competition took place in the Makerspace, a build area located within the Innevation Center, that offers the opportunity to work with a wide array of tools, machinery and software.
“We hope the Makerspace will help community members and entrepreneurs to explore their creative ideas and get inspired to bring innovation to the marketplace” said Grace Chou, chief enterprise and commercialization officer and director of the Innevation Center. “We also hope to help students develop 21st century skills of solving complex problems, critical thinking, creativity and other cognitive skills to prepare for a future workforce.”
The four competitive student teams - one from Reno area high schools, one from TMCC and two from the University – were tasked to invent a new product to assist with managing the deadly, ongoing crisis of wildfires around the world and our local community.
The Makerthon gave the student competitors 48 hours to invent a new product, develop a prototype of that product and then present it to a panel of judges. The competition’s challenge prompt stated, “In 2020 alone there was over 50 thousand wildfires impacting over 10 million acres of land, and studies indicate this number is going to continue to rise in the coming years. Beyond the thousands of people displaced by fires, many more struggle to deal with the dangerous smoke that fills the Reno valley and residents’ lungs each year. From early detection and extinguishing of new fires, to mitigating the health risks of the smoky season, there is no end to difficulties when it comes to dealing with wildfires and the problems they present. You are tasked with developing a product to assist with managing this deadly crisis.”
The winning team from the University’s College of Engineering, Team Starfruit, includes undergraduate students Jennifer Clayton, Jacob Hunter, Lloyd Gonzales and Morgan Young. They took home a $1000 check prize for their invention, a watch that detects air quality and alerts users to unhealthy outside conditions, helping to address an ongoing challenge that hits close to home in our region.