Innovation, Challenge Draw Hundreds to WV Makes Festival

Oct. 5, 2015

HUNTINGTON — The 2015 West Virginia Makes Festival is in the books. The second-annual event, presented by the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI), serves to inspire artists, inventors, makers and students of all ages.

Hundreds of participants joined more than three dozen Design Challenge competitors and more than 400 K-12 students for the annual festival, hosted Oct. 2 at Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington, W.Va.

"The festival celebrates makers and taps into the inventive community of entrepreneurs and innovators so they can interact with other makers," said Charlotte Weber, RCBI Director & CEO.

The festival features a Design Challenge that rewards projects that integrate creativity, innovation, engineering, art and science. Prizes were awarded during a lunchtime presentation.

Most Original Design ($200): Eric Holstine of Charleston, W.Va., for original steampunk artwork that incorporates technical and lighting components and movement.

Best Presentation ($200): Liam Honecker of Morgantown, W.Va., for a project that takes off-the-shelf radio-controlled (RC) multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and combines 1990s virtual reality technology to create an immersive-first-person-view experience that is both addictive and ripe with novel potential uses.

WV Awesome ($500): Ruston Seaman of Philippi, W.Va., for an LED-lit Basketball Rim and Reflective Backboard that combines 21st Century science of light and reflective technology with the game of basketball.

Best Expression of Innovation or use of 3D printing ($500): Anthony Wheeler of Huntington, W.Va., for the Appalachian Microhydro-Electric Powerscrew that innovatively uses a variation of Archimedes Screw technology to efficiently generate power for those who have a very small amount of falling water on their property.

Best of Show ($1000): Patricia Robertson of Barboursville, W.Va., for the Incredible Edible Ice Cream Cone Drip Stopper that prevents melting ice cream from making a mess while you eat it.

Great Mind of the Future: Aiden McCloud of Huntington, W.Va., for Sadie's Holes, a fence that can be reshaped, cut to any size that prevents dogs from escaping by preventing them from digging or biting through the fence material.

The Great Innovator: Sullivan Steele of Charleston, W.Va., for the Phone Phlipper, a retractable iPhone holder created with 3D Printing technology.

In addition to the Design Challenge, the festive celebration featured 3D Printing, exhibitors with innovative industrial products, unmanned drones, LEGO activities, regional Robotics teams, local food vendors, live music performances courtesy of a Marshall University jazz combo and tours of Heritage Farm exhibits and museums.

This year’s event was staged at Heritage Farm Museum and Village so today’s makers could experience a time in Appalachian history when making was a necessity, Weber said.

Scheduled specifically to coincide with national Manufacturing Day, the annual festival focuses attention on a resurgent industry that contributes a great deal to our economy.

The festival was supported by a state and region-wide group that includes RCBI, Advantage Valley, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Education Alliance, City of Huntington, Heritage Farm Museum and Village, I-79 Development Council, Huntington Museum of Art, Marshall University, Superintendent of Cabell County Schools, the W.Va. Department of Education & the Arts, and the W.Va. Small Business Development Center.