The Maker Hub’s Kickbox program gives students the tools to solve problems

The deadline to apply for the annual program is Dec. 2.

Almost every day, students run into recurring problems and find themselves wishing for solutions. Whether it be getting to class quicker, finding hidden gems around campus or even blocking the sunlight from a dorm room.

Luckily, the Maker Hub offers students the opportunity to try their hands at solving some of these day-to-day problems. Students selected for the Maker Hub’s Kickbox program receive a box full of tools to create a prototype. Among the resources in the box are resources, guidance and a $300 Visa gift card to make the idea a reality.

“Students are full of ideas, but they don’t always know how to start,” said Senior Technical Instructor Dan Reis. “Kickbox gives them a process and support to make significant progress on their idea.”

After submitting their idea by Dec. 2, students will hear if their idea was accepted by early January. From there, students receive their Kickboxes in February and have most of the spring semester to make their idea a reality.

Students receive support from a faculty or staff member who sponsors their idea, and Maker Hub consultants help them navigate the Maker Hub. Students are also placed into a cohort of about 10 fellow students who help each other out with feedback and encouragement.

While creating their prototype, students will be able to learn more about a tool that is required for their project, like the laser engraver, soldering irons or specialized software.

A wireless laptop charger Aidan Burnside built for a previous Kickbox project.

Aidan Burnside ‘23 used his Kickbox to build a wireless charger for his laptop. As an engineering student, he wanted to apply the skills he was learning in class to solve a problem that many college students struggle with. Burnside used the skills he had used in the Maker Hub beyond Kickbox.

“After the Kickbox program, I also used the resources at the Maker Hub to make light-up circuit board Door Decorations for the residents on my floor,” he said. “Kickbox is a great way for students already involved in the Maker Hub to work on a more ambitious project than they normally would or for people not already familiar with the Maker Hub to get involved with a cool project that reflects their own personal interests.”

Technology company Adobe originally created the program to help its employees create software products, and Elon borrowed the idea to create its own Kickbox program seven years ago. The Maker Hub has modified Kickbox to make it centered around innovation by students.

Cole Carney ’24 made this soundproof saxophone mute as a Kickbox project.

Cole Carney ‘24 wanted to create something that would allow him to play his instrument without disturbing his neighbors. He used his Kickbox to construct a soundproof saxophone mute.

“Having an idea is one thing, but seeing it come to life and be supported along the way is even better,” said Carney. “I would say that even if you don’t think you have the time, you should apply because you will be surprised by what you can accomplish in one semester.”

Overall, students have not only an opportunity to improve their prototype skills, but they also can gain valuable experience outside of the classroom.

“They learn that projects take several iterations or versions, that failure and frustration is a part of the creation process, and that process can be very rewarding,” said Reis.

The deadline to apply to Kickbox is 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2, and more information can be found here.