About carterc3@illinois.edu

Grad Student Recreation, Sport, Tourism

3D Printing: A Game Changer for Sporting Good Industry


Hello Class!

As the semester wraps up, I have completed a research paper focusing on the impact that 3D printing can have in my area of Graduate Study: Recreation, Sport, & Tourism. More specifically I focused on the way 3D printing is being used by sport equipment / good manufacturing companies such as Nike, Under Armour, etc… Additionally I analyzed the current capabilities of individual users ability to 3D print sport products. In the long term, increased  domestic printing from consumers themselves will significantly impact  sports industry stake holders such as retail stores and sports manufacturers. The  “maker movement” and increased use of 3D printing, will change the relationship between consumer and the top sport equipment brands.

3D Printing: A Game Changer for Sporting Good Industry

Carter Carroll

University of Illinois


“ 3D printings effect on industry will be profound… it will blur the lines between manufacturer and customer… Markets dominated by a few huge players will be transformed as existing companies, start ups, former customers, and end users start making selling, and using products and services that  never existed before”( Hornick, 2015). The above statement highlights how the increased use of 3D printing technology will likely continue to be a major economic disruptor across industries, as well as society with the “Maker Movement”.  The sporting goods industry is one market in particular that has already started capitalizing on the technology to create innovative products. Participation and enjoyment of sport and recreation activities, permeates everyday life in the United States as well as globally. While most of the professional sports industry revolves around selling intangible products such as event experience or branding of teams and sponsors, the use of 3D printing technology certainly looks to have a major impact on the sports and recreation industry particularly with the manufacturing of sporting goods such as equipment. This paper analyzes the impact of 3D printing in the sports industry through exploring why the technology is valuable to various stakeholders, examples of current uses of 3D printing within the sports industry, and possible future implications the technology will have on the industry. Ultimately it is apparent that 3D printing technology will have a beneficial impact for multiple sport and recreation stakeholders, and its growth in the industry will revolutionize the way sports gear is made.


Value of 3D printing Technology on Sport Industry Stakeholders

Firstly, it is important to recognize how and why the use of 3D printing technology is valuable to stakeholders in the sports industry.  The capabilities of 3D printers will transform traditional manufacturing across all industries primarily because they lower costs, are more efficient, create fully customizable products, and are one machine that creates finished products as users digitally design. IP lawyer John Hornick states in his book 3D Printing Will Rock the World,  that for these reasons, parts manufacturing companies will be the first to be overtaken by 3D printing with consumer products soon to follow (Hornick, 2015).  For the sports industry, most of the manufacturing of consumer products falls under the category of sporting goods and equipment. These include major sporting brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.  It should be noted that the creation of sporting goods is by no means a small part of the overall sports industry, “The market for sporting goods in the United States has a projected value of almost $65 billion, and recreational transport and the equipment category accounts for 25 to 30 billion U.S. dollars in consumer purchases” (Jaaskelainen, 2016). The above reasons are just part of why sporting good manufacturers and users see value in use of 3D printing technology. Currently 3D printing can be regarded as a mutually beneficial innovation for sport equipment brands and consumers. Overall it is primarily the customization capability, and low cost accessibility of the products 3D printing technology can create, that provides the most value to industry stakeholders.



Certainly, the ability to fully customize products with 3D printing is the most prevalent way that the sport industry sector has been using the technology. For sporting goods manufacturing companies, the sporting equipment products they create are primarily for athlete use.  The challenge with making sport athlete centered products is that every athlete is different. Additionally athlete consumers typically desire products that will improve performance, or to which brand they identify with.  Providing athletes with custom equipment that will improve performance is in part what a big draw to what 3D printing manufacturing in sports is doing. In Matt Barker’s research article 3D printing future use in sports, he explains why customized sport equipment can be advantageous, “Shoes, protective padding and mouth-guards are all examples of items which could be improved for each individual user by exact dimension measurements that are customized for each wearer. This will drastically improve performance in certain sports, and be attractive to those who like their own perfectly fitting gear.” (Barker .2016).  The infamous sporting gear / apparel company Nike,  has invested into the broad customization capabilities of 3D printing technology to manufacture better and new types of products such as shoes, shin guards, and duffel bags. According to Keith Nelson with Digital Trends, the use of 3D printing started for Nike back in 2012 when it filed a patent for implementing 3D printing technology to automate the process of affixing the shoes upper to the midsole (Nelson, 2015). Nike representatives have explained that the customization and simplification of creating athletic shoes using 3D printing,  is beneficial to them because “the number of shoe pieces being added has increased, requiring increasingly complicated manufacturing steps to produce shoes.” (Nelson, 2015).

NIKE 1st 3d printed shoe

Although Nike is a relatively early adopter in filing patents revolving around 3D printing, the other major sport equipment brands such as Under Armour, Adidas, and Reebok are by no means lagging behind in using the technology in creating their products. In 2015 Adidas unveiled its Futurecraft 3D initiative (Video Linked), which according to the company is “ a unique 3D-printed running shoe midsole which could be tailored to the cushioning needs of an individual’s foot” (Banks, 2016).  Footwear products are a major source of revenue for sport equipment brands. These sport manufacturers see value in 3D printing technologies broad range of customization capabilities, because they can create solutions that advances the development of innovative sporting equipment. As sport gear companies such as Nike or Adidas continue to develop there 3D printing manufacturing technology, there will likely be an increase in the creation of tailor made equipment for individual athletes.

Adidas Future Craft 4D.. 3D printed shoe using Carbon’s technology, the material is springy and able to bounce back

Moreover, the customization capabilities of 3D printing is also good news for the actual users of sport equipment, as they have the capabilities to print products themselves. As 3D printers become more broadly accessible across communities and into homes, the potential for domestic sports equipment production increases. Sport equipment users will begin to turn into makers of their own. Therefore they will create their own customized products through 3D printing, which has major implications on the sports industry as this begins to blur the lines between the manufacturer and customer. Users 3D printing their own sport equipment is a reality that stakeholders in the sporting goods industry face today, and one that will continue to increase given available access to technology of 3D printing. One such case of this reality is evident with a group of Engineers as they have developed a new 3D printing technique that can “ enable a vast range of composite materials; things like tennis rackets and golf clubs, to be printed easily and at a low-cost in people’s homes ( Barker,2016).  Although some sports equipment such as golf clubs or tennis rackets will be challenging to 3D print domestically with typical consumer printers for most people in the near future.

Engineers from the University of Bristol have started processes to 3D print composites. pioneered a way to 3-D print composite structures using ultrasonic sound. This would allow them to print custom golf clubs and tennis rackets

Regardless, there are still athletes as well as ordinary consumers making their own custom sports equipment with access to 3D printers in recent years. One such case is with Arielle Rausin, who is a Paralympic wheelchair-racing athlete at the University of Illinois. Arielle designs and prints her own set of wheelchair racing gloves, by scanning her hand as a digital file so as to print custom fit 3D printed plastic racing gloves. According to Rausin having custom racing gloves are an important piece of equipment in being able to rotate the wheels on the specialized racing chairs, but the main existing option for these gloves cost around $350  and took 12 hours to make each using molds (Beckman, 2017). Ultimately using the capabilities of a standard consumer model 3D printer, Arielle is able to create her own custom fit gloves through her company Ingenium that are “lighter, cheaper at $4 per glove, durable, and take less time to make”(Beckman,2017).

Custom Fit 3D printed wheelchair Racing Glove

Arielle Rausin wearing the custom 3D printed gloves she created

In another similar case, a New York high school senior named Thomas Desimone digitally modified and 3D printed lacrosse stick heads in order to make it possible for special needs players to learn and play the sport. With assistance from his Lacrosse team the Challengers, they were able to successfully print custom plastic material lacrosse stick heads by “Manipulated the lacrosse stick head design using CAD software to make it larger and lighter,  so as to be easier to use for kids with special needs (Sims, 2016). In both Thomas and Arielle’s case, they made completely custom made sports equipment domestically. More intriguingly both of them created types of equipment that did not technically exist and were not possible at an individual user level before 3D printing. Outside of the cases where new types of custom products are created, users with 3D printer access can also print and customize their own sport equipment through existing files that are shared to  community sites such as Thingiverse. Although most of the sports equipment that users can print themselves is limited by factors such as the type of 3D printer or material required. Even so the ability of the public to be able to print  sport equipment files such as golf tees to lacrosse stick heads without the need of a retailer,  is still of great value to users.

Thomas Desimione: 3D printed Modified Lacrosse sticks

Sporting equipment is a broad term, and there are many different types of equipment for specific sports and recreational activities. Some types of equipment will be more challenging and expensive to 3D print than others. Eventually 3D printing of files of advanced sports equipment at the user level is not implausible, and will likely revolutionize the way consumers, retailers, and manufacturers interact in the sport equipment industry.  The capabilities to create customized sport products is a primary reason as to why the use of 3D printing technology is valuable to sporting good brands as well as users alike.  Customization is clearly a factor that makes 3D printing technology of value to multiple stakeholders in the sport gear and recreation industry.  Use of 3D printing to create customized sport products will likely continue to increase in sport product manufacturing, and on the individual maker side as 3D printers continue to become accessible to consumers.

Low Cost & Accessibility

Secondly, the ability for 3D printing technology to create sport gear at a lower cost is another major reason to why the technology is valuable to sport brands and users alike.  For sport manufacturing companies 3D printing technology is simply more cost effective. 3D printing technology typically lowers costs for manufacturers because it is able to have products be designed and created quickly, it is efficient in not wasting material, and it eliminates many costly expenses such as human labor and use of multiple machines. Alex Mcglenn a 3D printing researcher states in his article“How 3D Printing Has and Will Affect Sports”, that all major sport equipment manufacturers have implemented 3D printing into their manufacturing process.   “ The ability to quickly and easily design, create, and test a product is invaluable and rapidly speeds up the production timeline… the opportunity to easily alter the design and functionality of items, makes it invaluable to concept creators” ( Mcglenn,2016). In 2012 when Nike initially started implementing 3D printing into the manufacturing process for their new football cleats (Nike 3D printing manufacturing Video), 3D printing “simplified the increasingly complex process involved in manufacturing athletic shoes and reduced human labor for Nike” (Nelson,2015).  It is important to note that presently Nike and other major sport equipment manufacturers typically still use a combination of human labor and existing machines when it comes to creating the broad variety of products they produce.  Even so it is clear that these companies are all continuing to move towards further implementing 3D printing technology in part because of how cost effective it can be.

Meanwhile from a user or athlete’s perspective, the capability of 3D printers to potentially lower the cost of creating certain equipment is beneficial in that it could make certain sports more accessible to participate in. This is particularly true when it comes to the manufacturing of adaptive sports equipment such as wheelchairs or prosthetics. In order for disabled athletes to play in particular sports, they typically require adapted equipment to allow them to participate. In the Sport Techie research article “3D Printing Technology Looks To Increase Participation In Adaptive Sports”,  Howard Brodwin founder of Sports and Social Change found that 3D printing manufacturing provides a great deal of value to the sport. In his research involvement with a wheelchair sports team at UCLA, he found that high cost of current adaptive equipment was a huge barrier to entry for many disabled athletes. In regards to the impact that 3D printing capabilities has on adaptive sports, Howard stated that it “…gives athletes the ability to be provided service for their broken or damaged equipment almost immediately, without the trouble of waiting for new parts from a manufacturer. This innovation would not only help lower the cost of new equipment, but give more people who are disabled the ability to both afford, as well as take part in the recreation” (Wistreich, 2015).

3D printed Custom Sports Wheel Chair Seat

Additionally a 2015 Sports Digest research article titled 3D Printing: A Future in the Sports Industry, further elaborated that the impact from 3D printing is beneficial to removing financial barriers for a user to participate in adaptive sports such as with the printing of custom prosthetics.  “ The affordability of 3D printing can now reach those who normally would not be able to incur the cost of a more expensive and sometimes clunky prosthetics. The prosthetics have been completely customized for maximal comfort and offer the same usability as a pricey “traditional” counterpart” (3D Printing In Sports, 2017). In her interview Ariel Rausin the creator of custom 3D printed racing gloves, reiterated a similar sentiment regarding the importance of the value of low cost and accessible adaptive sport equipment that 3D printing provides. “If it was easy to make and produce these gloves, it might be one less barrier people have to enter into wheelchair racing.” (Beckman,2017).  Accessibility and breaking down barriers to enable participation is an area that 3D printing is clearly having a positive impact for participants in adaptive sports. Adaptive Sports is certainly not the only sport that is more accessible by potential of 3D printing technology minimizing barriers to entry by lowering equipment costs.  Sports such as Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Golf, and any sport that limits participant entry with high cost equipment, will find value in the low cost manufacturing that growth of 3D printing technology provides.

3D Printing and Adaptive Sports. Prosthetic can be custom made, and are higher quality with 3D prints

Current and Dynamic Uses of 3D printing in Sports Products

Unsurprisingly, there are much different type of ways that 3D printing technology is used within the sports industry. As covered above, sport manufacturing companies and users find value through 3D printing technology mostly because of the limitless product customization capabilities, and cost efficiency of making that the technology can provide. Because of the technology capabilities, 3D printing is being used in almost every type of sports product manufacturing capacity currently.  It is innovating tangible sporting equipment at every level, and even creating sport products that have not existed previously. Some examples of 3D printing currently being used by sport companies and users to innovate sport specific equipment include

  • Baseball Bats: “Rip-It Sports created the Smart BAT. The bat is made with a combination of 3D printing and smart  technology giving it the ability to provide the hitter with real-time data, swing speed, and contact analytics for each swing and hit made”  ( Ryan,2017)
  • Snowboard Bindings: “ Creation of more flexible alternative, gives snowboarders more control, comfort and flexibility in binding” (Ryan, 2017 )
  • Golf Clubs: “ US golf club manufacturer, Ping, produces a stronger golf club than traditional casting methods. The 3D printing process is also actually easier and quicker compared with traditional processes” (Ryan, 2017) Ping creates VIP customized golf clubs for $8,000-$10,000. Price will come down as 3D printing gets cheaper
  • Small Parts: Insoles (worn down shoes), bicycle handlebars, recreation machine parts, etc…

3D Printed Bat with computer data chip to track swing data such as MPH, bat speed, contact, etc.

In terms of Sport gear and apparel companies, Nike has been one of the first and best sport manufacturers to implement 3D printing technology for a variety of uses (Why Nike Invests in 3D printing Video). Although Nike and most major sport gear brands do not use 3D printing exclusively in manufacturing quite yet, their president of innovation Tom Clarke stated in Dec 2016 how Nike plans to increase use of the technology with their athletic footwear. “ We’ve been using 3D printing to create new performance innovations for footwear for the past several years. Now we are excited to partner with HP to accelerate and scale our existing capabilities as we continue to explore new ways to manufacture performance products to help athletes reach their full potential.” (Banks, 2016). Nike has made 3D printing technology a major part of innovating their shoe line from the creation of the Nike Vapor Cleats in 2014, which were developed to increase athletic agility for football.  Nevertheless, shoes have not been the only major product Sport Apparel companies have used 3D printing for. In 2014 Nike also developed 3D printed lightweight duffel bags, and more significantly the Mercurial FlyLite shin guards which provide “a revolutionary lightweight and shock-absorbent material for use in sport protection” (3D Printing: A Future in the Sports Industry,2015). The 3D printed shock absorbent material innovation is something that can even be extend to protection equipment product lines such as helmets and other padding. In addition to equipment, Under Armour and Reebok have even been 3D printing “preliminary models” of accessories and apparel for their products.

Nike 3D printed Shin Guard. Improved High Impact Absorbing Material

Finally, there are several medical / sport related products that are using 3D printing capabilities. As has been extensively covered, 3D printing is beneficial in providing equipment for disabled individuals to participate in adaptive sports. 3D printing technology provides lower cost access for participants through the creation prosthetic limbs that are lower cost and better quality, as well as custom adaptive wheelchair parts. Similar to Nike’s innovative 3D printed impact shin guards, the technology also could offer potential solutions with protective gear such as helmets. Currently mouth guards used by many athletes for contact sports, are increasingly made with 3D printing technology where they are custom fitted to players mouths to provide extra levels of comfort and safety (Takao, 2015). Finally, 3D printing technology has revolutionized the improvement of sports medicine machines and training processes in recent years, by making them  “intrinsically better…The machines used in sports medicine help rehabilitate injured players can be fixed quickly and easily using the technology. The 3D printers are able to create the medical equipment so a team or medical facility never has to wait weeks for a single component ( Mcglenn,2016 ).

3D printed mouth guards. One of many examples of custom fitted gear that is used for improved impact protection.


Future implications for 3D Printing and Sports Manufacturing 

3D printing already has, and will continue to revolutionize how sport equipment is made. The technology is being used  to benefit multiple areas of creation of sport products, including equipment, gear / apparel, and sport medicine. It is also revolutionizing who is making the sports equipment as well. Sporting good companies are investing in 3D printing to create equipment that is custom tailored to their consumers and increase the quality of their products. For sport product manufacturers 3D printing technology is currently, and looks to be the way of the future in terms of creating and delivering innovative products to consumers. For sport product consumers, they will likely continue to see an increase in mass customization of tailor made products. As 3D printing becomes cheaper and accessible to more people, it is also highly likely that sport products will become less costly and more accessible to users to print themselves.

Sport Retailers will be forced to adapt to the maker movement. At some point in the future, users will be able to much more easily access files to print the products they need

Most importantly, the spread of the maker movement with increase in sharing of design and domestic making of things such as sports equipment, will have major implications on the sports industry entirely. Even average athletes starting to create and 3D print their own equipment; will further blur the lines between sports product manufacturers and customers.  Sports Retail businesses will likely face many challenges ahead. As the maker movement increases with at home domestic creation of sport products, the sports retail stores purpose will come into question, since users can download a file and print equipment at home or a local 3D print business. The Sports Digest Journal predicts a bright future for the sports industry and 3D printing, where retail stores adjust to  “ printing customized sports equipment on demand for an athlete’s specific needs could soon sweep across stores like Academy Sports, Nike, or Dick’s Sporting Goods”( 3D Printing: A Future in the Sports Industry,2015).  Sport Equipment retail stores such as Dicks Sporting Goods embracing 3D printing may be the first step into the future of sport product making and consumer purchasing. However Nike’s COO  Erick Sprunk stated in 2015, that the industry will get to a point where “ Consumers will one day be able to buy a shoe design file from Nike and 3D print the shoe themselves” (Nelson, 2015).

Eventually 3D printing of files of sports equipment at the user level is not implausible, and will likely revolutionize the sport equipment industry. The end users of sport products will likely become sellers, and creators of more sport products themselves. 3D printing technology and the maker movement, by all evidence, is set to continue to make a tremendous impact on the sporting goods industry.



For additional resources and information on developments within the sports product industry and 3D printing,  please see the below 3D print website for articles, designs, and case studies https://3dprint.com/tag/3d-printed-sports-equipment/









3D Printing: A Future in the Sports Industry (2015)

3D Printing: A Future in the Sports Industry



Ryan, Matthew. 3D Printing In Sports. (2017, May 08)., from https.hwtrek.com/lifestyle-technology/3d-printing-in-sports



Banks, A. (2016, December 16). 3D Printed Shoes: Here’s Who is Winning the Battle & Why?, from http://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/12/15/3d-printed-shoes-nike-adidas/


Barker, M. (2016, January 27). A Glimpse Into The Future Of 3D Printing In Sports., from http://www.sporttechie.com/a-glimpse-into-the-future-of-3d-printing-in-sports/


Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. (2017). VIDEO: Rausin Creates 3D Printed Wheelchair Racing Gloves for Paralympians. Retrieved May 11, 2017, from https://beckman.illinois.edu/news/2016/08/wheelchair-racing



Hornick, John F. 3D Printing Will Rock the World. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2015. Print.


Jaaskelainen, L. (2016, November 01). Topic: Sporting Goods Industry, from https://www.statista.com/topics/961/sporting-goods


Mcglenn, A. How 3D Printing Has And Will Affect Sports. (n.d.). from http://www.fabbaloo.com/blog/2016/9/14/how-3d-printing-has-and-will-affect-sports


Nelson, Keith. (2015, October 15). Nike was just granted a key patent for 3D printed shoe technology., from https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/nike-patents-3d-printed-shoe-technology/#ixzz4gimyKF30


Sims, G. (2016, November 08). Advancements in 3D Printed Sports Equipment. from https://3dstartpoint.com/advancements-in-3d-printed-sports-equipment/


Takao, K., Tetsuya, T., Hidetoshi, T., Shingo, K., Chika, S., Toshimasa, O., & …

Daisuke, K. (2015). The Possibility of Fabrication for Sports Mouthguards Using a Three-Dimensional Ink-Jet Printer. Japanese Journal Of Sports Dentistry, 18(2), 65-69.



Wistreich, B. (2015, August 09). 3D Printing Technology Looks To Increase Participation In Adaptive Sports, from http://www.sporttechie.com/3d-printing-technology-looks-increase-participation-adaptive-sports/


Exceeding Expectations : 3 Things I Will Takeaway from Digital Making

When I first was able to take the Digital Making course, I was  excited at the prospect of being able to work with 3D printers for the first time and perhaps learn some new types of software. While I certainly did the above, the first hand experience of creating a 3D printed product solution with help from multiple campus resources showed me the vast capabilities 3D printing as well as other digital technologies can have.  As a Recreation, Sport, & Tourism  grad student taking this course, I am interested to see how the capabilities of 3D printing can impact entire industries as well as daily life with the maker movement  .  I am very glad to have been in this class as I learned so much from VIshal, the people who spoke in class, and my classmates. Using 3D printers,  Fusion / TinkerCad/ Scanning software, and even programing  Arduinos / Rasberry Pi within the Fab Lab were all new experiences I have not had before. Overall I have 3 main lessons that stood out from my experience in particular.

  1. Ideating and Design Thinking

My team came up with several idea solutions that could solve a problem. Going through this process of ideating to lead to a potential solution was often challenging. However being able to learn from how the process went was a really good experience. For example our team tried out a few ideas that we thought we can create a solution for, and ended up scrapping them because of a lack of need for the product or ability to create it. We eventually created a security product that does solve a need, however the road to get to that solution and idea was harder than an idea just popping into our heads. Having gone through the process and better understanding the capabilities of the technology, I believe we would be more prepared to go through the creation process again and be more effective with a product solution. Lastly, understanding the capabilities now makes it  a bit easier for me to draw inspiration on potential projects I may undertake in the future.

2. Learning through Trial and Error

From creating multiple attempts at a product  solution,  to my personal struggles using CAD Fusion 360 software, there were  plenty of times that failure would get frustrating. Although it is cliche, I learned the most when I faced roadblocks in using Fusion 360, programming Arduinos, or even soldering. It was in the moments of trial and error of multiple failed attempts to get a certain part of the product to work, that I felt as though I learned the most. Figuring out why something did not work, such as a sensor on our product, lead to me having a better understanding of the  technology / process. In this way I have a much bette appreciation for the the prototyping and testing phase of a product. While it can be frustrating due to all of the imperfections being displayed, it is also the time where your product benefits the most from the improvement in my opinion.

3. Broad  / Endless possibilities of 3D printing

Within our class we had people make product solutions which contained some sort of 3D printing. The products ranged from an at home security system, to a friendly bot that records video when you interact with it, to an object that helps individuals tie their tie, to an at home aquaponics system, etc….  The idea being that 3D printing capabilities are extremely broad in scope, which to me is an amazing part of the technology. Some products are entirely 3D printed solutions, while others may just be a tiny yet necessary part to fulfilling a need through a product.

Improving the Prototype: Value of Feedback & Testing

With a week to go before our presentation of our product, our class / team has been quite busy in the past week. Firstly, my team BCC creations have created a working prototype of our 3D printed security system. In terms of basic functionality our prototype works, and is being tested by our selves and friends of ours that can use it in their apartments on campus.

Addittionally in class we were able to get and give feedback on our existing prototypes. I enjoyed giving feedback to other teams prototypes as it was nice to hear other ideas that teams had. One group I gave feedback to was developing a wrist band that can detect when you are dehydrated. I thought this was a great idea, and I gave my perspective on how they can improve based on my experience playing sports and with recreation in general.

Our team also received extremely valuable feedback from the groups in our class. One group  had us think about the possibility of cats or pets  in an apartment, and if that would trigger our security system. Our security system uses an ultra motion sensor, which unless adjusted or installed properly would be triggered by a pet walking by.  Obviously if this was the case the device could falsely measure this movement as an intruder.  Because of this we have started thinking about creating instructions on exactly where users should install there device to monitor a door or window being broken into. Since in most cases we would not be able to install the product in a users home these instructions would be useful in making sure the security system functions properly. In our case the device should be installed high above or to the side of a door so that it is not triggered by other things around it outside of a door opening.

Secondly, our team was also given a suggestion that it may be easy for users to forget to make sure the security device is powered on. For example when a user leaves their home for an extended vacation or day or weekend, walking out of the home they could easily forget to set the alarm (power it on). This easy user error is something we are thinking about how to make our device easier to work around the users life style as opposed to the user working around the device. We have already programmed a message to alert the user when the device is on, and are considering other ways to make it easier to use the device,

Receiving Feedback

The feedback allowed our group to think about our product from a different perspective, and to also consider situations that we had not though of when we originally came up with the idea. The feedback helped us think of our device in a much more user friendly way. As our entire class starts to finalize our products, I can certainly say that the feedback and testing phase of the project has been the most useful in how informative it has been


Prototype to Testing

Prototyping – Testing

This week my team “BCC Creations” made significant strides in creating our prototype for our security SMS alert system. We have programmed our raspberry pic computing chip , assembled the components such as the bread board and ultra motion sensor, and have started 3D printing our housing unit. Overall our prototype has one from an idea with design ideas, to a real physical and functioning product. As we are waiting for our housing unit to print, we have further thought out how exactly our the security sensor would assist our end user. This included adjusting the ultra motion sensor distance,editing the coded alert message to say exactly which door was detecting movement, and thinking about how we instruct end users on how far to Velcro there security system.

It is exciting to see an idea about a potential need, take form into a solution. We are definetly a far away from an ideal product, but even having components together that work is a step that we are ready to enter the testing phase. One thing I think is interesting for anyone 3D printing a product, we had to switch from Fusion 360 to tinker CAD. Ultimately we had a challenging time creating he security system housing unit using the Fusion 360 software. We were definetly close to finishing what we wanted, but ultimately for a simple rectangular housing unit, Tinker Cad provided a simpler way to make our creation a reality. Over the next week, it will be interesting to see what kind of feedback our product receives. Once it is put together, I think it simply solves the need of a cheap solution to assisting in home security for home and rooms for individuals. I completely expect our product to evolve and change, but at the present I think what we have is a simple cheap solution which at its core can have value to audiences such as college students.

Prototyping & Design Week 9 Summary

With our class moving along with our  team projects, week 9 was predominantly focused on moving forward with designing and creating prototypes of our products. Throughout the semester we have obtained a wide variety of learning experiences such as how to use 3D printing software such as TInkerCad / Fusion, how to program arduinos processing chips, and using the build capabilities at the campus Fab Lab. Having had weeks to begin to learn how use these tools allowed teams to think of ways to how they can create and improve their product design.

Testing of Hydration “Fit Bit”


In class teams sketched out first prototype designs of what each teams product is. To begin teams laid out specifically what the product does and what its purpose is. After knowing what functionality we needed out of our products, we than made a materials list of all the parts / components  that would be necessary to obtain to make the product work. The products / problems teams are trying to solve are widely varied in what they do and how they are put together. Some products need arduinos, sensors, and have to be programmed through breadboards, while others could simply be 3D printed objects to solve a certain need. Each team in our class at the very least has a sketch of a prototype, and we have been in the works to create our first fully functioning version of our products. The class is very excited to start to create tangible versions of our prototypes through collaboration with 3D printers, the Fab Lab, and many other campus resources. Depending on the teams product, some teams have to obtain a wide variety of parts from Vishal, the Fab Lab, or even just ordering online in order to start creating the prototype. For other teams their may be more emphasis on design with 3D printing and testing the product in the field. One team for example is considering  working on 3D printing custom cricket sporting equipment. They may not need to work with the Fab lab or programming, but they do need a heavy emphasis on getting the design and functionality correct for their end user.

Security System – Prototype Sketch & Materials list

Overall this week had a  significant theme of the importance of the design of our product to fulfill a need. As one of the TED talks we listened to in class stated, “Design is best as an iterative process, the earlier you invite feedback, the more chances you have to revise and improve” (David Kelley Ideo). The design and creation of the  prototype is the first step  of many  on the path to creating a successful product that end users will value. For many teams creating the first prototype was challenging in not knowing exactly what the product looks like or in some cases even works. Ultimately as Mr. David Kelley of Ideo highlights, the prototype is not meant to be perfect. In fact the prototype is simply the first step in allowing our products more changes to be improved through feedback and trial and error. Week 9 was significant for teams to begin development on creating, designing, and moving forward with creating a useful product that fulfills a need. It will be exciting to see how the prototypes are developed, and refined in this last month of the semester!

Prototyping, Refining Ideas, and making ideas become Reality


In week 10 of class, our group continued to work on our creating a prototype for our SMS security system. Most of our work has been centered around programming our Rasberry Pi computer board with Python programming.

One thing that has been difficult is none of the individuals on our team including my self are very knowledgable on how to code in Python. Fortunately our teamate Charlene has a friend that was willing to help us with what type of coding we needed, and we have found numerous online resources in being able to create the instructions for the Raspberry Pi to send a SMS message when the Motion sensor is triggered. In the meantime we have started wiriing our Raspberry Pi to a breadboard, as well as starting to design a housing unit through fusion software. Going through this processhas been tricky in how technical we have to get in making sure our product functions the way we need it to. In each decision we have made in creating this in home security system, we are always thinking about making sure it functions and is made specifically for the end user in mind. Working with fusion, programming, and wiring a bread board are all areas that I am still by no means a master at. However I enjoy being able to learn these new softwares and technical aspects of making. I certainly am glad we had experience through the Fab Lab to help our team start thinking about how to actually make our product a reality, espescially considering the security system has a lot of work that needs to be put into it to make it work.

One final thing of importance was  our class was able to try out the 3D object scanner. Vishal showed us a few different options for 3D scanners, which scanned anything from small to medium sized objects, to even classmates heads. I am fairly certain our group will not use either of the 3D scanners for at least creating our product. However seeing how the 3D scanners work, and the capabilities of them was one of the more unique tech I have had the opportunity to experience. Personally I am planning to do a 3D scan of my self prior to the end of the semester!

New Idea, and Creating the Prototype- Carter

Prior to Spring Break our group decided to  change our entire product need that we were working on. Although we felt that the we could create a solution to the problem we identified (although even that would have been tricky), we concluded that their was not enough of a need for our product to be used with a wide range of people.

Putting further thought and discussion as a team was the right call in that we have found a product solution that we beleive will be acheivable and more importantly providing a need for in home security. Brian our teammate, brought up how many of the apartments and homes here do not have any time of secured entry to the doorway. Often times when people leave their apartments or homes they have issues with breakins or people within their home. From this problem and need of low cost in home security, we came up with the idea of creating a home or room “alarm” / notification device. This device would recognize when a front door (or any door) was opened and would give a user 10 seconds to hit a button upon enterning the home. If the user did not hit the button near the door, the device would send out an SMS text message to the residents within the home. Having this device would allow users to know if someone had entered there home particularly when someone shouldn’t. More importantly, those within the home would know where the button is and to hit it when unlocking the door. The device can also be turned off, so that if users are constantly opening the door, they don’t have to worry about hitting the button.

Our next step was in class coming up with our prototype and seeing what parts we would need to actually create this  device. We created our components list, which at first was a bit overwhelming in terms of thinking about making this prototype. After we were assisted and given direction on being able to get much of this from Vishal, our team was confident going forward. Over the next few days we will be finalizing obtaining all of these components, and are excited to actually start putting our device named “SMS Security” together. Much of the components and things we need are pretty much thing we had experience from the Fab Lab, such as the bread board, Raspberry Pi programming, and the jumper wires. The external device we keep this in will likley be something that we 3D print, which I think is great in how we can fully make and  customize the shape around the components of our device with the 3D printer. Overall we look forward to seeing how our first prototype turns out in the days ahead!!

Soldering and Project Solution


This week I was once again experiencing a new way program an Arduino at the Fab Lab. However this time around I was learning how to solder for an Arduino to be permanently created. The process of learning how to solder I found much more challenging compared to placing pints into a pin holder which we did last week. After about an hour of training from our student instructor, I was able to start understanding how to effectively solder wires and program them into the arduino processor.

Cool project I found at the Fab Lab: Basketball hoop that counts how many times a point has been scored. Uses sensor and arduino to display # of shots made.

My soldered arduino set:

Overall, it seems soldering the pins is a solution for something that is going to be created for permanent use. Compared to the bread board option I tried in week 1, that would be for more of a temporary and testing solution. I still prefer using the bread board, however I feel that given time and more practice soldering will be a better way of creating what ever prototype our group programs if we use an Arduino.


Finally my group pitched our product idea. Currently we want to develop a product that can measure a certain amount of PSI in sporting equipment balls and inform a user that it needs to be filled . This way a sport manager or participant is informed if a ball is properly inflated. I am excited to see where this project goes, however I still do have some concerns about it. First, I do think there is a need for a product like this, however I do concede that it is not a significant need. Although a convenience of knowing which and when a ball needs to be inflated would be usefull, many balls stay inflated for months at a time and don’t need to be checked as often. At the same time when leagues or recreation leagues are dealing with a significant amount of sport balls, they may not have as much time to ensure proper inflation.


Regardless I am excited to start using some of the skills and software we are using into implementation of a prototype in the coming weeks. Moreover, I think it is possible that our product idea can certainly still be adjusted to fit a greater need as well.

Fab Lab Day 1: Arduinos, and the internet of things,


Upon reflection, this past week in class was my favorite thus far because of the Fab Lab experience. This was our 1st week being able to experience the Fab Lab on campus. The Fab Lab is a rapid prototyping area, that can assist in creating a programed prototype. Part of our first day of training at the Fab Lab was being taught how to program the Arduino controller. As we learned the Arduino is a digital input and output micro controller. What you are able to do with it is program it with pins for example to have a certain response with “if then statements” that you code into its programing. For example, one project we learned how to program with the Arduino, was a light sensitivity measure. By setting certain inputs connected to the Arduino microprocessor, we were able to cause certain lights to light up depending on how dark it was around the sensor.

Furthermore, even though our project will likely not have a light sensor, the point is we can use the Arduino to program any “if than statement” or cause and effect we want. I particularly enjoyed this part of the project as I have tried working with the Arduino unit in a previous work experience. At the time I was creating a device that could go into a golf hole and once a ball hit it would trigger an MP3 sound to come on. At the time I learned a lot about how Arduino’s work, however I could not figure out the device to its full capacity. The Fab Lab staff taught us the insides and out of this powerful device, which was quite helpful especially in regards to our final solution for the device we create. Although my team is still working on a final solution, experiencing the Fab Lab and learning from the staff on the concept of “the internet of things” was particularly intriguing. The idea of the “internet of things” is that every day common devices will be connected to the internet by sensors and all sorts of different devices changing the way we receive information and interact with objects in our daily lives. What ever solution our group comes up with I feel should be framed with knowing the power of the Arduino and future of the “internet of things” in mind.

Lastly, here is a link to the site called Sparkfun that I bought my own Arduino Uno. The site is extremely helpful in showing the feature of each device, how to use it, and has a call support center. There staff is extremely helpful, and simply want the devices on there to be used to benefit any idea or project you have. Obviously an ideal fit as our class moves into the 1st stages of prototyping!




Identifying NEEDS

This week we focused our attention to our groups product idea that we will be printing using 3D printing to create. To begin we were challenged with coming up with 3 potential ideas that could fulfill a need. Outside of the design thinking experience our group had back in week 3, this 3-40 minute team meeting was really our first chance to flesh out some of the potential ideas we had in person. Finding viable solutions was challenging at first, mostly because it is quite enticing to want to think of a solution before actually thinking of a problem.


Once our group took a step back, and started brainstorming problems that we had encountered in recent memory, it was then easier to consider solutions to those problems. Furthermore going back to our lesson on design thinking, each time we came up with a solution we had to think about our end user of our potential idea / product. Would the end user actually have a need for our solution? Is it economically fee sable to produce? Would this product actually make the end users life easier? All of these are important questions to ask when taking into account design thinking. Of the 3 solutions we came up with, I am not quite sure our group has one that we are really leaning towards doing. This is both a positive and a negative for our 3d printed solution. On one hand we do not have a potential prototype to start putting together, but now we still get to go through the discovery phase a bit more and really understand our problem. Our group is certainly excited as we do have 3 good problems to solve. What will be interesting is to see if any really can be solved by the a tangible product created from 3d printing making materials. This next week will be very important for the group to think of potential solutions, and really hone in on one problem we want to tackle going forward.


See below for photo of the 3 problems we are addressing.