A Hackathon Hosted by the Seniors – Written by Kevin Smedley EDI’19

By Kevin Smedley EDI’19

This past Thursday, February 5th, the senior EDI fellows ran a hackathon for the younger fellows and the directors. The seniors designed this Hackathon around the concepts of sustainability and eco-friendliness, as every day, we use various things that affect the environment in a negative way. Many of these things also produce an excessive amount of waste. For this hackathon, the seniors wanted teams of EDI fellows and directors to design a compact product that people (and more specifically students) could use, with a focus on reducing any possible negative effects toward the environment. At the end of the project, two things must be presented: a CAD design of the product and a rough physical prototype that demonstrates how it would work. Each team had to explain why students would want to use their product and why it would make their lives more environmentally friendly.

Each team of three was provided the following materials to create their prototypes: cardboard, straws, rubber bands, glue, and cardstock. We, the Seniors, judged each team on their design and quality of their presentation. We were focused on two main categories for our judging: eco-friendlines and why students would want to use it.

The seniors were presented with 4 designs: a biodegradable syringe, a smart water bottle, a fidget spinner phone charger, and a urinal

Schematic of the urine battery technology that already exists. Figure Borrowed from Walter et al. 2017 Applied Energy <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261916307814>

urine battery. The biodegradable syringe came in first place as the presentation was

Schematic of Urine Battery Internal Structure. Figure taken from Walter et al. 2016 Biotech for Biofuels. <https://biotechnologyforbiofuels.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13068-016-0504-3>

beautifully executed and the idea was very creative. The smart water bottle, which provided a tracker to show you how much water you drank throughout the day as well as a hatch to expel water for plants, came in second place with a smooth presentation. In third place came the unconventional fidget spinner which could power a phone similar to a hand cranked flashlight. The team of directors used materials other than those listed in the guidelines and were thus placed last. However, their design for a urine battery which could be implemented in bathrooms to power the lights was highly innovative and was a brilliant implementation of a normal urine battery.