Fashion/Tech Hackathon at Kent State to Chart New Course for Wearable Technology
The Fashion School at Kent State University will host the third annual Fashion/Tech Hackathon from Friday, January 29 to Sunday, January 31 in Rockwell Hall. The Hackathon is a cross-curricular event allowing teams of student participants to create and innovate within the realm of wearable technology. It is presented in partnership with the Fashion School’s TechStyleLAB and Kent State’s LaunchNET (formerly Blackstone LaunchPad).
During the Hackathon, students spend 36 hours developing a project of their choice, usually in the form of a technology-enhanced garment or wearable-responsive app. All teams are given free access to the TechStyleLAB, the Fashion School’s digital textile fabrication space, along with a variety of electronic and textile materials.
According to Dr. Melody Tankersley, senior associate provost at Kent State University, the Fashion/Tech Hackathon embodies the spirit of interdisciplinary thinking that drives innovation in the 21st century. “This is an event that encourages individuals from a variety of backgrounds to work together creatively,” says Dr. Tankersley. “Technology and fashion make a real difference in peoples’ lives, which is one reason why the Fashion/Tech Hackathon is so important.”
At the conclusion of the 36-hour creative process, teams will get a chance to showcase their work alongside with peers and mentors, and project prizes will be awarded in four categories:
- Creation of a New Technology
- Advancement of an Existing Technology
- Use of Technology in Creating New Fashion Products
- Tech Advancement of the Retail Experience
The 2015 Hackathon drew 144 student participants representing 19 universities and 23 different majors. Critically, 60 percent of participants were female, a notable figure in U.S. hack activities.
The 2016 Hackathon currently has more than 200 registered participants from over 75 colleges and universities across the nation. Registration is free and ongoing through the event website, www.fashiontechhackathon.com.
The Hackathon schedule also includes several events that are open to the public:
- Coding workshop for high school students — Saturday, January 30 at 10 a.m.
- Project expo — Sunday, January 31, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
- Awards presentation — Sunday, January 31 at 1 p.m.
For more information on the weekend schedule and locations, visit the Hackathon website. Finished projects will be on display at the MuseLab (Kent State University Library, third floor) during the month of February.