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2016 SCID Designathon Photo

2016 SCID Designathon Photo

SCID’s 2016 Product Designathon

Junior Cory Berdinis shares a recap of the Santa Clara Innovation & Design club’s second annual Product Designathon. Bringing together students from multiple disciplines, the hackathon-style competition challenged participants to identify and solve a problem focused on travel.

The Santa Clara Innovation and Design Club (SCID) is a student organization founded with a mission "to teach and inform students on the principles of product and industrial design, as well as encourage interest in design thinking... ." The following is from SCID President Cody Berdinis '17.


For the second year in a row, Santa Clara Innovation & Design club put on our big event, the 2016 Product Designathon. Bringing together students from all disciplines, the hackathon-style competition was twice as large as last year’s and a huge success. Over 70 people attended our day-long challenge to learn about and practice the methods of product design and compete for the $2000 cash prize pool.

After an opening presentation by Eric Berdinis, a Product Manager at Otto, a local autonomous trucking company, the teams were given four hours to identify and solve a problem in the field of “travel.” This broad topic led to the conceptualization of hundreds of different designs on their paper-covered tables, and no one held back during any of the initial brainstorming. Staying true to the one of the core tenets of design – “Encourage wild ideas!” – we saw ideas ranging from apps and websites to off-the-wall products. By the afternoon, teams had to finalize their designs and create a visual presentation that would argue for the necessity of their product.

During the six-minute presentations, the teams sold their product to the judges by discussing the problem they found, the methods they used to solve it, and ultimately their final design. We saw a plethora of very well thought-out ideas, from tourism-planning apps to self-driving luggage.

The Crowd Favorite Award ($500) went to Aegis (Jb Anderson, Junior, Mechanical Engineering; Danny Eckstein, Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering; Kyle McMorrow, Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering; and Matthew Nagy, Junior, Mechanical Engineering). Aegis is a squadron of drones that would act as first responders to traffic accidents, delivering essential audio and visual feeds to dispatched ambulances and police as well as first aid instruction to those at the scene to optimize the heavy resources required for emergency services.

The Most Innovative Award ($500) went to MyBus (Robbie Culkin, Freshman, Computer Science and Engineering; and Andy Hudlow, Freshman, Undeclared Business). They designed a new way of implementing municipal transportation that would use machine learning to optimize route planning based off the consumers rather than off traffic data, getting people to work together for travel discounts and ultimately cut time off the route.

The grand prize of Best Overall ($1000) was won by MyWay (Victor Figueroa, Graduate Student, Electrical Engineering; Archana Kashikar, Graduate Student, Mechanical Engineering; Rory Pannkuk, Freshman, Undeclared Business / Computer Science; and Surag Suresh Yalaburgi, Graduate Student, Computer Science and Engineering). They designed an app that would divvy up your public transit, biking, and private transportation to meet your exercise, economic, or personal goals. Even those who didn’t win still ultimately walked away with a great experience and inspiration for next year’s competition!

SCID’s 2016 Product Designathon could not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors KEEN, IncYou, and Motorola Mobility, with help from Xilinx, SCU School of Engineering, and Ike’s Love & Sandwiches. The SCU KEEN program is focused on improving the entrepreneurial mindset among undergraduate engineering students.  It is a collaborative effort with other universities across the country and financially supported by the Kern Family Foundation. IncYou is a new kind of start-up incubator. They target disruptive entrepreneurs--from new graduates to senior executives--who wish to synergize with others while advancing their own ideas. Motorola Mobility is a consumer product company responsible chiefly for the design and production of innovative smart phones, smart watches, and cell phone accessories. In the past few years, the company has helped transform the mobile market into a design-first, consumer-first game.

We would like to thank Santa Clara University for all of their financial and logistical support in helping to put on this great event. We are very excited for next year’s competition, which we hope will be even larger and with more cash prizes!

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