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Makeathon makes comeback

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Members of the Gusteau Group showcase its third-place winning project, the pasta cooking machine, to judges on March 6, 2016 at Knowlton Hall. Credit: Tinae Bluitt | Lantern Reporter

Members of the Gusteau Group showcase its third-place winning project, the pasta cooking machine, to judges on March 6, 2016 at Knowlton Hall. Credit: Tinae Bluitt | Lantern Reporter

Ohio State students spent 24 consecutive hours this past weekend designing and constructing new technical inventions during the second annual OHI/O Makeathon 2016.

The event, held at Knowlton Hall, was open to all undergraduate and graduate students, specifically in the Midwest region, interested in participating.This year’s makeathon had 115 participants while last year’s event had 67, Eric Bauer, a fourth-year in electrical and computer engineering and president of the Electronics Club, said.

“It’s not limited to just Ohio students,” said Patrick McCarthy, a third-year in electrical engineering and the social media chair for the makeathon. “Anybody who wants to come can come.”

The projects that placed in first, second and third in the competition were the American Sign Language Translator Glove, the Full-scale Remote Control Vehicle and the Pasta-Making Robot, respectively. The winners received different technological kits as prizes.

Priyanka Ganesh, a graduate student in electrical engineering, was part of the winning team, M4C, which Ganesh said was composed of five first-time makeathon participants. They created the American Sign Language Translator Glove.

“People who don’t know sign language can use the glove. In the future, we would like to have two gloves that communicate wirelessly,” Ganesh said. “Right now, the system is programmed to detect any hand gesture. Essentially, the glove translates the hand gesture into text on the computer.”

Ganesh said the team was surprised when they won first place as first-time participants.

“I kind of did not know what to expect initially. I was a little daunted about the fact it was going on for 24 hours,” Ganesh said. “But it was extremely well organized, and the volunteers were super helpful making sure we had everything we needed.”

Not only was there time to network with companies in attendance like Harris Corporation and Battelle, McCarthy said there were other advantages for participants in the event as well, such as exercising creativity, along with career and academic advantages.

“Our main goal with OHI/O is to try to spread technology culture at Ohio State. A lot of engineers tend to not get involved,” McCarthy said.

Bauer said the Electronics Club put on last year’s makeathon, but the event came back bigger and better for the second time around.

“We got a seed investment (for last year’s makeathon) from the organization called OHI/O, (who sponsored) the first makeathon,” Bauer said.

OSU organizations, including the Electronics Club, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Undergraduate chapter at OSU, the Amateur Radio Club, the Maker Club and company sponsors helped make the daylong competition happen.

“We come together and we plan these events because we all together have the resources to make awesome things like this happen for the students at Ohio State, regardless of whether they are in a STEM major,” Bauer said.

McCarthy and Bauer said one of the only guidelines was to build a physical project to get that hands-on experience, but they also said the event was supposed to be relaxed and fun.

“We want to show off and kind of celebrate the making skills of the students here. We want to get them physically building stuff with hardware,” Bauer said.

Ganesh said that participating in the makeathon was a “wonderful experience.”

“The environment was conducive, and the mentors at the event answered any questions we had. Overall, it was a really good learning experience,” Ganesh said.

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