Kent State Blackstone LaunchPad Explores Wearable Technology Industry With First Ever Collegiate Fashion/Tech Hackathon

24-hour event open to all college students attending a U.S. university

Product innovation around the growing wearable technology industry will be the focus of the Kent State University Blackstone LaunchPad’s second annual “Innov8athon” event running Jan. 31 through Feb. 1 at Kent State’s Rockwell Hall.

Logo for Fashion/Tech Hackathon at Kent StateThe 24-hour event will provide students from varying disciplines across the United States the opportunity to come together and build physical prototypes that combine fashion and technology in the nation’s first collegiate wearable tech hackathon. Student teams will pitch their business concepts in front of an illustrious group of Northeast Ohio business leaders, including members from NorTech, JumpStart, FlashStarts, Tiny Circuits, MOVABLE, Kent Displays, Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute and the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising.

“There’s tremendous potential for the wearable tech industry, and Northeast Ohio is positioned to take advantage of it,” said NorTech President and CEO Rebecca Bagley. “Our region has some of the most innovative companies developing flexible electronics technologies that will re-interpret the way we interact with our electronic devices.”

‘‘Blackstone LaunchPad thrives on supporting collaborative, cross-disciplinary investigation of new ideas and industries,” said Julie Messing, executive director of entrepreneurship initiatives at Kent State. “Given Kent State University’s unique resources, including a nationally ranked Liquid Crystal Institute, Fashion School and Computer Science department, our program saw a timely opportunity to focus our signature startup event around the wearable tech industry to propel student business investigation.”

Sponsored by Blackstone LaunchPad, in partnership with Kent State’s TechStyleLAB and the student organization, Hacksu, “Innov8athon II: Fashion/Tech Hackathon” is expected to draw up to 100 participants with the potential to create 15 student ventures. Student teams will have the opportunity to compete for more than $3,500 in various cash awards. The final presentation is free and open to the public to attend. For more information on how to register or attend the event, visit

About Kent State University’s Blackstone LaunchPad Kent State University’s Blackstone LaunchPad promotes entrepreneurship as a viable career path. Through mentoring, workshops and events, and connecting entrepreneurs to resources, Blackstone LaunchPad helps Kent State students, faculty, staff and alumni to create new startups or grow existing businesses in Northeast Ohio. For more information about Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad, visit

About NorTech As an organization focused on technology and innovation, NorTech is strengthening Northeast Ohio’s economic vitality by accelerating the pace of innovation in the region. NorTech is using its industry expertise in emerging industries to foster an innovation environment that provides small, medium and large companies, colleges/universities and disconnected populations with collaborative opportunities that create jobs, attract capital and have long-term, economic impact. NorTech also connects with government leaders and other influencers to raise the visibility of Northeast Ohio’s technology assets, position the region as an innovation hub and attract resources. For more information on NorTech, visit

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Caption: Kent State University’s Blackstone LaunchPad will host the nation’s first collegiate wearable tech hackathon for students across the United States from Jan. 31 through Feb. 1 at Kent State’s Rockwell Hall.

Media Contacts: Kate Harmon,, 330-672-6783 Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Monday, January 27, 2014 09:52 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM