Wheaton College Shark Tank Winner: RowAmp

Wheaton College Shark Tank Winner: RowAmp

The Wheaton College Shark Tank:

The Wheaton College Shark tank is a entrepreneurial competition where teams of student entrepreneurs have only 2 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. After the pitches there is a brief question session. The judges choose six teams in total to move on to a final round next spring. In addition one for profit and one non-profit team is chosen by the crowd, through text based voting, to win a $1000 cash prize. This year there were 13 teams giving pitches and ExperiencingPhysics managed to make it to the final round in the spring and walked away with the crowd choice award. Below is the link to the Wheaton College Shark Tank website and additional information about the competition:

Shark Tank is an entrepreneurial competition among Wheaton College students modeled after the eponymous television show. Students from all experience levels and backgrounds with viable business ideas will present to a panel of judges; a set of winning groups will be propelled on a path of mentorship and growth. Next spring, these groups will present at a second tank, where the student entrepreneurs will be in front of true “sharks”: investors able to grow their businesses with a critical eye for success. The point is to have students across disciplines engage in addressing the world’s brokenness through the means of innovation and entrepreneurship.

RowAmp Pitch:

The RowAmp is geared to the growing high school rowing market. Priced well under competitors we hope to unlock new value in the high school market by catering to clubs that would not be able to afford existing rowing amplifiers. We worked with coxswains on the Wheaton College crew teama and incorporated all of the essential features into our simple design without any unnecessary bells of whistles. Our prototype is functional and proves that there is potential in manufacturing low cost rowing amplifiers.

Analysis of the high school rowing market

Analysis of the high school rowing market

The RowAmp compared to the industry leading CoxBox

The RowAmp compared to the industry leading CoxBox

Product Features:

I worked with my roommate, and ExperiencingPhysics partner, Young-Ho to develop the RowAmp. The RowAmp is a low cost rowing amplifier. It amplify’s the coxswain’s voice through a chain of speakers that run the length of the boat. If you are unfamiliar with rowing, the coxswain is responsible for steering the boat and motivating the crew. So a good sound system is essential. I gave the RowAmp a 20W power amplifier to drive the boat’s speakers. I also built 2 LED display’s into the RowAmp’s design to display essential performance information such as the crew’s stroke rate and the elapsed time or number of strokes taken. This blend of features produced a product that had all of the essential features that coxswains reported to use on a daily basis.

RowAmp Info Sheet

RowAmp's front panel  start up display and controls

RowAmp’s front panel start up display and controls

Constructing The Prototype:

The electronics were developed on a PCB shield for the arduino that I designed using Fritzing’s development software and PCB Fab. All the code that I developed for this project ran on the arduino UNO microcontroller but I plan to run it on smaller AVR platforms such as the Atmel Attiny 45. The shell was 3D printed in PLA on my 3D printer.

3D printing the RowAmp's shell on my 3D printer

3D printing the RowAmp’s shell on my 3D printer

PCB design of the original arduino UNO shield

PCB design of the original arduino UNO shield

First two PCB's ready to be soldered and put into the 3D printed shell!

First two PCB’s ready to be soldered and put into the 3D printed shell!

Future Work:

I am currently re-designing the PCB to incorporate a smaller AVR microcontroller. This will reduce the bill of materials and also make manufacturing of this product feasible.

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