A bunch of hacks say CCAD Industrial Design students are no. 1 (and we couldn’t be prouder).

Classroom learning has its place—you won’t find an argument from us on that point. But a key part of Columbus College of Art & Design Industrial Design curriculum is participating in hackathons (a.k.a. intense, often multi-day events that match experts across disciplines to collaborate on a challenge).

And it’s an activity in which our students excel. (And not just Industrial Design—CCAD students from across our majors have been first-place Hackathon finishers, including last year’s in Louisville.)


kent state hackathon

Our most recent success came in late January, at Kent State University’s Fashion/Tech Hackathon, at which Matthew Erdmann (Industrial Design, 2021) and Tyler Baratz (Industrial Design, 2021), along with two students from Kent State University’s fashion program, came in first place—and won a $1,000 prize—in the category of “Best Implementation/Creation of Wearable Tech to Solve a Problem/Need.” The four, competing as Team Cyclone, designed a cycling jersey with a built-in airbag that protects bicyclists from severe crash injuries.

Erdmann and Baratz were part of a group of 14 CCAD students (11 from the Industrial Design program and one each from the Fashion Design, Advertising & Graphic Design, and Animation) to attend the Kent Hackathon, which drew 208 students from 35 colleges and universities across the country. The students, who formed teams within and outside of their respective schools, spent 36 hours developing wearable technology in the form of a tech-enhanced garment or wearable-responsive web application. Hackathon participants were given access to the TechStyleLAB, Kent State Fashion School’s digital textile fabrication space, as well as free electronic and textile materials.

In addition to the Team Cyclone performance, Team VIDA, which consisted of CCAD students Lakaya Fearon (Industrial Design, 2021) and Jessika Raisor (Animation, 2019), and a Computer Science major from Kent State, earned a design innovation award and $250 in the category of “Most Market/Venture Potential” for their design incorporating microsensor technology to monitor both an individual animal’s health and herd health for livestock farmers.

kent state hackathon stuff
kent state hackathon stuff

“The reason I love taking students to hackathons is that these fun, very fast-paced events encourage design thinking and creative problem solving in a way that I can’t duplicate in a classroom,” said Industrial Design Professor David Burghy, who brought CCAD’s students to the Kent Hackathon.

“Since they only have 36 hours to complete their ideas, students must quickly evaluate their strengths and choose teammates who supplement their weaknesses,” he said. “Most of the time this takes students out of their comfort zones by requiring them to rely on individuals they don’t know, from a different major or different school. It is this collaboration of diverse teamwork that allows design problems to be solved in original ways.”


Learn more about Industrial Design at CCAD or apply here.