Hackathons are a win-win all around from concept to the end result. Not only do age groups of all levels get a chance to work their brains hard under time constraint and stimulating challenge, but they offer inspiration to all of us–as well as often supplying the world with some off-the-charts cool new designs that are actually useful.
Those who attend hackathons are usually talented go-getters who have done their homework in terms of getting the right vibe for what it takes to break the mold with new innovations. Now, once again makers and designers have had the chance to don those futuristic think caps and head for everybody’s favorite futuristic appliance–GE’s ChillHub–in the latest ‘Think Inside the Icebox’ Hackathon.
On June 13th and 14th, at their headquarters in Brooklyn, MakerBot welcomed GE’s Firstbuild as they came in to work with a wide range of inventors who put their best products forward to deck out the refrigerators of our future in MakerBot’s third annual hackathon.
Hackathon attendees were set up with the tools of the future as well, using MakerBot Replicators to show off the results of their concepts and designs for connecting fridge devices in working prototype form. Revolving again around the ChillHub GE design for the refrigerator of tomorrow, hackathon participants already had some pretty awesome inspiration to go on from past challenges that we’ve reported on, with favorites such as the Milky Weigh device that never lets you forget to buy more milk, to my personal and very simple favorite, the Butter Cap.
With the slogan ‘a platform of possibility,’ GE could not be more understated. This year, hackathon geniuses came up with a whole new collection for us to check out, after some weeks of anticipation. Six teams competed, using not only the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem but also Green Bean connection kits that allowed for much more convenient innovating–offered by FirstBuild.
They worked steadily toward the prize of a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer and two rolls of filament.
Geared toward those who want to waste as little as possible and contribute positively to the ongoing conversation of what to do with leftover food, the device calculates how much is left over from various refrigerator stock and then allows them to be made public in your network. Those who are interested in eating the leftover tidbits can let you know quickly. This is definitely a new angle for the ChillHub and could lead to a huge new trend in another way to recycle.
“I’m blown away by the creativity and imagination of the participants of this Third Annual Hack-A-Thon at MakerBot headquarters,” said Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of MakerBot. “From high school and college students to seasoned engineers and designers, the teams imagined and real-time prototyped new devices and features that offer a glimpse into the future of the connected home.”
“We’re excited to be part of the FirstBuild community, and I couldn’t think of a better way to showcase the power of desktop 3D printing and how it empowers students and professionals to become creators.“
Second place was Pavlov’s Fridge, another simply awe-inspiring idea which forces the food-lover to jump through some hoops before they get their ‘treat.’ Perfect for dieters, obviously, the team designed the system to be coupled with wearables so that upon reaching their mission, the 3D printed box of goodies is opened at the appropriate time. It’s clever, humorous–and much needed in many of our homes.
Coming in for the bronze was Fridge Pharm, another medical storage device–but this one has a major twist. With medications placed in the innovative 3D printed container, they are locked until it’s time for dispensing; not only that, your doctor can monitor the box remotely due to the ChillHub wifi connection. Obviously, the meting out of dosages is helpful on several different levels. In conjunction with the 3D printed medical lockbox, the team employed a Raspberry Pi for the lock.
Other honorable mentions were the magnetic LED Chiliflix, which could have huge marketing potential as well as giving ideas for movie night recreation–as a Raspberry Pi microcontroller housed in a 3D printed magnetic case suggests movies depending on time, day, and other factors. Using WiFi, it’s able to intuitively offer you big-screen selections.
The Light Snack Stopper is another great idea that requires some work in order to get fed–as the team created programming that will prohibit children and pets from unlocking the 3D printed mechanism that seals up the fridge–unless they can figure out the matching game, using a joystick.
The innovations for GE’s ChillHub are as seemingly endless as the amount of foodstuffs we can pack into a fridge and the recipes we can consider making. And by the time we are all ready to put these futuristic fridges into our kitchens and stock up, the ChillHub will obviously be laden not with just epicurean delights, but that of incredible innovation and convenience as well. Featuring USB and wifi connectivity, the ChillHub was unveiled earlier this year at International CES in Las Vegas.
Check out the rest of the innovations from the hackathon here. What was your favorite? Have you designed any 3D printed accessories for home appliances? Discuss in the ‘Think Inside the Icebox’ Hackathon forum over at 3DPB.com.