Elon Kickbox highlights Winter Term winners

Elon makers produced a host of innovative projects through the Maker Hub's innovation kit initiative.

By Elizabeth Kirkhorn, ‘19

With the new year came a new semester, new opportunities for Elon students and an exciting new group of makers, hard at work on their Elon Kickbox projects. 

The list of 2019 Winter Term winners and their projects are Kathryn Ellington for Robotic Hand; Matthew Foster for Football Helmet for the Modern Age; Margo Greenawald for Organic Chemistry Lab 2.0; Kerry Sheenhan-Delany for Frankenstein Camera; and Daniel Yameen for Home Automation using a Raspberry Pi.

Elon's 2019 Winter Term Kickbox winners include, from left, Matthew Foster, Margo Greenawald, Kerry Sheenhan-Delany, Kathryn Ellington and Daniel Yameen.
Kickbox projects represent hours of hard work. As part of the program, students are responsible for conceptualizing, researching, prototyping, building and revising their creations. With the help of a faculty or staff sponsor and allocated funding, Elon makers have produced a host of innovative projects through this initiative.

“This was our first time trying Kickbox during Winter Term,” said Dan Reis, senior instructional technologist. “It went really well. Students really jumped into their projects and made significant progress in only three weeks. Because students only take one class during Winter Term, they had more free time to explore and iterate on their ideas. It’s likely something we’ll try again next winter.”

Through the Elon Kickbox program, each winner receives a box complete with a $300 Visa card, along with guidance and resources to help them develop their ideas. Winners also receive assistance from a Maker Mentor, a student staff member who helps them find and learn the equipment in the Maker Hub, and invitations to regular meetings with other Kickboxers to share progress, support each other and more.

Many Kickbox projects are born out of personal passions. Foster, who plays on Elon’s football team, toyed with the idea of an in-helmet camera for players to wear on the field. 

“There are cameras in every part of football today, [including] the pylons, the referees, the goalposts, but not in an area where you could get a first-person point of view of the players,” said Foster, an engineering major from Buffalo, N.Y. 

So, he took his idea to the Maker Hub and created a wireless micro camera to mount on the inside of a football helmet. The goal, Foster said, is to provide high definition wireless streaming without compromising player safety.

For Daniel Yameen, an engineering physics and mechanical engineering major, the inspiration for his Kickbox project evolved from his interest in learning new things and curiosity about how technology works. He created an iPhone app that connects to a Raspberry Pi. The connection, derived via an IP address from the network that controls the Pi’s switches, can deliver power to another appliance.

Yameen, a Quincy, Massachusetts, native, was thankful for the opportunity to have his project funded by the Elon Kickbox initiative. Being able to build without worrying about buying his own materials made the project more focused overall, he said. 

When it comes to career development, Winchester, Virginia, native Kathryn Ellington views her Kickbox project as a step in the right direction. She’s exploring 3D-printed prosthetic limbs and plans to continue in the field after college.

“I would like to build and design prosthetics as a career,” she said. “I am very interested in finding new ways to build prosthetics that would be better engineered and comfortable for people who need them.”

Ellington, a biomedical and mathematical engineering double major, is specifically focused on printing a servo motor-powered arm and hand, which connects to a sensor used to represent connection to a human stump. A potential user would be able to control the use of the hand through the sensor.

She hopes that success in this endeavor will lead to further internship or research opportunities. 

Elon also offers a spring semester Kickbox competition. Projects from both winter and spring will be on display at the third-annual Maker Takeover on May 1 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Moseley Center. Visit Elon Kickbox to learn more about the program, including details about current and past projects.