Atlanta Maker — brainstorming and creating tech prototypes in 48 hours

By Saba Long

Weekend projects. We all have them but I doubt any of ours were as exciting as what the folks at Atlanta Maker worked on this past weekend.

The Georgia Tech Invention Studio partnered with the Coca-Cola Co. and General Electric to host a special “maker” edition of Startup Weekend, the second of its kind in the world.

Much like Startup Weekend focused on pitching and building software solutions, Atlanta Maker brought individuals together to brainstorm and construct physical prototypes in just 48 hours.

Fourteen pitches resulted in eight teams, including one made up of Georgia Tech students, and six functioning demos.

Just like the Top Chef episodes where the teams get an assignment, budget and race to the grocery store to gather their ingredients, the Atlanta Maker teams hurried to hardware and electronics stores around the city to gather items needed to build their widgets.

One team proposed UShare, an umbrella-sharing portal for Georgia Tech students and faculty needing an umbrella when crisscrossing the campus. Users would swipe their Buzz card to receive the umbrella, incurring a charge of 50 cents or a dollar on their Buzz account. Other prototypes included a functioning speaker masked as a shelf and Magic

“This was a phenomenal event,” said Jen Bonnet, lead organizer for Startup Weekend for the state of Georgia. “I decided to do it because I felt my co-organizer Maria Joyner and I have done an amazing job of pulling together the startup community – web and mobile technologists — but the hardware-based companies should also be a part of our community. I’m thrilled with the way it worked out, and I can only hope that it will turn into something more.”

Six years ago, Bonnet launched StartupChicks at a time when the local startup community seemed disjointed. Joyner, Bonnet and others are building a strong, diverse startup network that has even gotten the attention of Atlanta’s City Hall and the city’s development arm, Invest Atlanta.

The next Startup Weekend will take place the weekend of Nov. 8, followed by the city’s second government hackathon.

Saba Long is a communications and political professional who lives in downtown Atlanta. She serves as the senior council aide and communications liaison for Post 2 At-Large Atlanta City Councilman Aaron Watson. Most recently, Saba was the press secretary for MAVEN and Untie Atlanta -- the Metro Chamber’s education and advocacy campaigns in supportive of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Referendum. She has consulted with H.E.G. an analytics and evaluation firm where she lent strategic marketing and social media expertise to numerous political campaigns, including that of Fulton County Chairman John Eaves and the 2010 Clayton County transportation referendum. In 2009, Saba served as the deputy campaign manager for the campaign of City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. Previously, Saba was a Junior Account Executive at iFusion Marketing, where she lent fractional marketing strategy to various ATDC technology startups operating out of the Georgia Tech incubator, ATDC. For the past two years, Saba has presented on online marketing and politics to the incoming fellows of the Atlanta chapter of the New Leaders Council.

1 reply
  1. mariajoyner says:

    It was an amazing event to be a part of and everyone that participated found value in it. I can’t wait for the next MAKER Startup Weekend in Spring 2014.Report

    Reply

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