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The Illinois MakerLab Team from Urbana-Champaign

By September 4, 2019College Teams, Proof

12 teams came to compete at the Stanley Black & Decker Makerspace in Towson, MD.  This season teams are an exclusive group of talented and gifted college students from around the country.  With majors ranging from Architecture to Electrical Engineering to Interactive Arts, the teams all had the same goal…. To create and design a brand new product in 48 hours. 

The Illinois MakerLab team members, Yuxuan, Will, Suixin and Dash, are students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who are always looking for new opportunities and learning new skills.  See how their Make48 participation paves the way for future Makeathon events.

What made you want to be a part of Make48? 

As a member of the University of Illinois Makerlab, we would always look for new opportunities. These experiences would help us learn new skills in making things and seek out fresh experience to give back to our local community. By being a part of Make 48, we could understand the steps of “Bringing ideas to life” and pave the way for our future makeathon events. Also, we knew it would be fun to be part of a TV show.


What was it like working as a team? Was it what you expected? 

Working as a team meant collaboration and collision. Dreaming as an individual is easy and comfy, but dreaming with people from different backgrounds is truly hard. Yes, we are long-time colleagues back in the lab; however, when we stand for our own thoughts, we fight fiercely without hesitation. 

The result was pleasant, but I should admit that we did not do well on balancing ideas and listening to others’ opinions. Conflict in ideas had risen several times, and we had moments when nobody would talk or compromise. Time was passing quickly, but we couldn’t forget, at any moment, that we were fighting on the same side.


How did you go about putting your team together? 

We heard about the event during the school semester. Our supervisors reached out to us during that time, and all we had to show them was that we wanted to build things. They knew us all very well so they trusted us to go and put on a show. We owe it to them for giving us this great opportunity.

What advantages did each of you bring to the team? 

Each team member came from a completely different area of discipline: business, design, and engineering. We had no trouble spreading ourselves out doing what we did best. This translated to us having strengths with a plethora of tasks like 3D modeling a prototype for our product, designing a memorable name and theme for our product, crunching the numbers on the business side, and many more essential things for the competition.


What was the most difficult part about the competition?  

Our team had difficulties with forming a solid idea to build off of. Our initial ideas were just not original and ended up having trouble with anything related to a patent. This is the main part where we had collisions with our ideas. None of us were on the same page while thinking about where to go with the theme of the competition. Once we got started with our idea, all the pieces started falling into place and we could help each other as a team. This is when our idea started looking like an actual product and us as four started looking like a team.

What did you learn from the Make48 event? Looking back, anything you would’ve done different?

We could have always taken more time to put into our presentation. Presenting to others is arguably more or as important as the ideas you have and prototypes you build. We opted to spend almost all of our time working on the idea and prototype and waited until the last minute to form a presentation. Even right as we got done presenting, we talked about the things we either missed or just forgot to add in


Overall what was the best past of the Make48 experience? 

Aside from getting free food for a couple of days, there were free resources everywhere during the event. It’s usually hard to get the instant feedback that we got and it reassured us that we were probably going in a good direction (or a bad direction). With these resources, we could form new ideas that could be checked for patentability or make big design choices that could be looked at by a second pair of eyes. Everybody helping at the event had valuable knowledge, it was our job to make use of it.


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