Students explore ideas with Elon Kickbox

Students from several majors make significant progress on an idea this spring with support from the Maker Hub.

For the 6th year in a row, the Maker Hub’s Kickbox mini-grant program is giving students support to make progress on their ideas. Fourteen students are working on their Kickbox projects this spring, ranging from an app to find a spot to study on campus to automatic curtains for your dorm room.

Cole Carney, a public health major and Kickbox recipient, is working on a device to play his saxophone quietly. “During the fall 2020 semester, I was taking a wind ensemble class which required me to practice outside of class each week, Carney said. “I play the alto saxophone, a fairly loud instrument that can reach up to 100 dB. Since I live in the Colonnades neighborhood, walking across campus to the Center for Fine Arts’s practice rooms was not always convenient. Playing in my dorm also did not seem like an option because I didn’t want to disturb my neighbors. I applied for the Kickbox to solve this problem and hopefully share my findings with other saxophonists.” 

He mentioned the details of his project, explaining “although the alto saxophone is a complex instrument that is hard to tame, I am hopeful to create a dampener that will also have a built-in microphone that allows the musician to hear their sound through headphones.”

The Kickbox program offered an avenue to support his vision. “The tools within my Kickbox will provide the funding and innovative techniques to create a working prototype that will hopefully cut down the sound of my instrument by at least 25 percent,” he said. “Without these resources, I would most likely never have taken the step to explore my curiosity in solving this problem.”

Kobie Williams and his team are creating an app to help students find study spaces on campus. “I was inspired to explore this project because I have a love for solving problems that annoy me,” Williams said. “I also have a love for being creative and solving problems that have not been solved yet.”

The Maker Hub Kickbox provided him additional support to be successful. “I applied for the Maker Hub Kickbox to give myself the funding needed to develop the app for the public to use,” Williams said. “The less stress on me for funding, the better the product can be.”

Elon Kickbox Projects for 2021

  • Aidan Burnside, an engineering major, is exploring charging adapters powerful enough to replenish laptop computers’ batteries.
  • Bradley Soll, a communication design major, is creating a custom retro video game cabinet.
  • Cole Carney, a public health studies major, is exploring a device that will make it possible to play the saxophone quietly without disturbing his neighbors.
  • Grace Granger, a theater tech major, is exploring how to measure the water consumed during a shower. She will present this information to help a user take shorter showers.
  • Haydn Stucker, an engineering major, and his team will use relays, MIDI software, and LEDs to create a music-actuated light show for the engineering workshop on campus.
  • Henry Chance, an engineering and physics major, is creating an affordable external GPU enclosure to add high-power graphics card to a laptop computer.
  • Jakob Reuter, an entrepreneurship major, is exploring how to create automated blackout curtains that will adjust to his sleeping habits.
  • Kobie Williams, an entrepreneurship major, and his team are developing an app to help Elon students find available campus spaces to study.
  • Lauren Bowman, a digital art major, is creating toys for pets.
  • Logan Powers, a strategic communications major, is exploring tools to fabricate various marketing and custom pieces for the student-run agency Live Oak Communications.
  • Mallory Poff, an engineering major, and her team are exploring the creation of a 3-pronged grabber tool to help people with limited hand and grip strength pick up items like keys, papers, and writing utensils.
  • Mikayla Ford, a communication design major, is working with her team to create a board game to encourage young girls to pursue STEM careers.
  • Nicholas Muller, a computerengineering major, is exploring the creation of an electronics hub that will control lights and other devices. He will rely on surface-mount soldering with PCB boards.
  • Trinity Swepson, an international business major, is exploring the creation of custom gifts using the laser engraver. She envisions making these gifts for real estate agents to give to their clients upon closing a deal.

Learn more about these projects by viewing their Kickbox Story – a webpage that combines videos, photos, and text that documents each student’s process. Kickbox Stories will launch on April 28 to kick off Maker Takeover week – a week of workshops and student-created projects. Learn more about Maker Takeover week.