Post-apocalyptic design competition drives tech solutions

On September 23-25, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering’s Generator Labs hosted a 48-hour design challenge known as the Fulton Furnace Fallout — a Devil’s Invent event.

The event, sponsored in collaboration with the ASU Kern Project and the Rossum Rumblers student org, got its name and inspiration from a post-apocalyptic game series known as Fallout, which refers to the radioactive residual after a nuclear blast.

The teams designed and manufactured various technology and devices that could be put to use in a Fallout scenario.

Students’ creations were made from everyday materials and were incredibly varied.

One team built a replaceable shoe sole, the Marfind Sole-Saver, to protect and preserve the wearer’s original shoes and allow for various activities, such as running, hiking or snowy conditions.

Another team created an informational booklet — or a survival booklet — for building tools, such as a water purifier or charcoal respirator, that can be used by the layperson with little to no technical background.

Another team built a portable refrigeration unit.

Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset

The Fulton Schools’ aim in hosting events like this it to develop an entrepreneurial mindset among engineering students.

Brent Sebold, director of the Fulton Schools Startup Center, gets students pumped up for the design-build event centered around a nuclear fallout scenario.

What is a problem that needs to be solved? Who can I collaborate with to achieve my desired result? How can I communicate the value of my product to others?

These are all questions that students addressed in the course of the event, and will further address in the course of pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors.

“The event pushes students to evaluate their approach to problem solving by thinking beyond “What can we make?” to “What should we make?” Participants are challenged to think of contrarian views to accepted solutions, pursue and integrate knowledge from multiple resources, and use that knowledge to create extraordinary value for customers,” says Tina Zecher, a Fulton Schools program coordinator.

Applying an entrepreneurial mindset to problem solving is an invaluable tool that aims to generate successful engineers as students move into the workforce.

The design challenge was open to all Arizona State University students, from freshmen to doctoral students, with around 40 students in attendance.

Members of the Marfind team work together to develop a prototype of their outer footwear solution.

The Best in Show recipients received an automatic bid into the Fall 2017 eSeed competition, which includes $1,000 to continue work on their solution, and a team trophy.

Members of the First and Second Runners Up teams earned a technology prize and a team trophy.

Alyass Hasan, a master’s student studying mechanical engineering, says he enjoyed the opportunity to “think outside the box,” get to know new people and “create, design and build in 48 hours.”

“Everyone should attend this event to seek new knowledge and a challenge. After all, education exists for seeking knowledge,” says Hasan.

“GenLabs has nailed it,” says undergraduate Pooja Addla Hari, a technological entrepreneurship and management major, complimenting the creation of the event which “inculcates an entrepreneurial mindset into the participants along with engineering skills.”

“All students should experience this at least once,” says Hari.

Upcoming activity

The next Devils Invent activity will be held November 4-6 with the theme “Internet of Things.” It will include coding workshops for beginners in the computing field.

“It is a great opportunity for both experienced software developers as well as students who are curious about coding, but have not had a lot of hands-on experience with it,” says Zecher.

In the future, additional Devils Invent design challenges will be hosted across the Tempe and Polytechnic campuses.

Benefit from the opportunity to apply your skillsets outside of a controlled classroom environment. Learn more

Members of the Marfind team work together to develop a prototype of their outer footwear solution.

Members of the Marfind team work together to develop a prototype of their outer footwear solution.