The Student Innovator of the Year (SIOY) showcase at Brigham Square brought 39 student teams out with their inventions to showcase for students and present to judges on Thursday, Mar. 9.
The engineering and technology department hosts the showcase competition each year, inviting students to present their initial ideas in April for preliminary funding, said the Student Innovator of the Year student director Nate Bridgewater. Bridgewater, a manufacturing engineering technology major, said students then work for the whole year developing and prototyping their products.
Student Innovator of the Year faculty director Justin Zsiros said each team goes through a vetting process to ensure their products and business plan are sound, but also to help the students learn important skills.
“The main goal is for them to practice their engineering on a real product (and) real problem,” Zsiros said. “We hope that they work on their engineering, but we also hope that they will just be creative (and) have fun with a product that solves a problem. We hope a lot of them will turn it into a business.”
The showcase featured many new student inventions, including an underwater drone, magnetic electrical plugs, and hammock shells that act as heat retainers in the cold.
“Every single team that’s out here essentially has a brand new invention,” Zsiros said.
Mechanical engineering major Andrew Carlson said he has helped his friend in developing Fuse, a device to help organize and transport MacBook cords.
“I’ve learned that it takes a lot of planning and a lot of communicating with different aspects of the industry,” Carlson said. “You have to talk to shirt designers, you have to talk to manufacturers, you have to talk to industrial designers — there’s a lot of different people you have to involve when you’re starting. I went into it naively thinking it was going to be easy … but you’ve got to do a lot of work.”
Judges will choose six to seven teams from the showcase to compete on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 in the Varsity Theater from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. First place winners will receive $6,000, second place winners will receive $3,000 and third place winners will receive $1,000.