Startup Weekend Maker Edition Recap

Joe Heitzeberg
July 01, 2013

The inaugural Startup Weekend Maker Edition took place this weekend, with around 75 participants joining from all around the Pacific Northwest and as far away as Taiwan to pitch their ideas, form teams and 3d-print, soldier, mill and glue their way to working prototypes of new products which they pitched to a panel of judges.

In the end, four teams took home distinctions and prizes for their work.

**Overall Winner: Magneeto ** – Chris Fryer opened up the pitch for his team by showing a photo of the little league team he played on as a kid, and recounting how his coach kept stats on each player, and how that data helped each player realize their potential. They want to do the same thing for weight lifting, by creating a product that can easily attach and detach from weights to measure reps, sets and potential even proper form. The team had one of the best overall working prototypes — a portable arduino (I think) device that used accelerometers to capture repetition data and send it wirelessly to a mobile webapp.

1st Runner Up: Active Shades – have you ever been blinded by bright sunlight or headlights at night while riding a motocycle or bike? Sunglasses help, but since they darken all light, can reduce visibility — especially at night. Active Shades aims to fix that by offering offering a new type of sunglasses made of inexpensive translucent LCD panels and camera sensors which work together to track the entering light and block out only the region where the light is brightest. The team demonstrated a working light-source tracking LCD panel mounted to a cardboard head, and showed off laser-cut prototype glasses with ink spots to demonstrate the idea and utility of blocking particular regions of light.

**2nd Runner Up: Ambee ** – this team comprised of Marc Barros, engineers from Synapse, a 17-year old engineer from Taiwan and others, pitched a “smart ear plug” that learns from one’s environment to selectively block out noise. The demonstrated a prototype audio sensor hooked up to a mobile app to simulate how a user might interact with information about ambient noise levels. They also showed off an talked about a prototype earbud which could be manufactured using 3D imaging scanning to fit the wearer’s ear exactly.

**Most Kickstarter-able: Cloud House ** – led by a 12-year old named Kailey, this team created a table-top sized mini-greenhouse wired up with sensors and cameras that live streamed data to the cloud to update a webpage dynamically. They talked about potential markets such as home gardening and education. It is easy to imagine the Cloud House concept packaged up and offered in various configurations as part of Kickstarter campaign — and easy to imagine it being popular with that crowd.

Coca-Cola Prize: Dream Machine – created a prototype sleep scanning system with sensors attached to the head capable of measuring and creating a useful data log that can help identify and track sleep quality — something that’s associated with hydration, and thus near and dear to Coca-Cola’s heart.

Congrats to all the teams!

Here are some photos.

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