Yuxuan Tang is ready for his 48 hours of fame

Make 48Four University of Illinois students have been chosen to compete in Season 3 of Make 48, a televised national invention competition.

Make 48 gives teams 48 hours to come up with an idea, create a prototype, and present their idea to a panel of judges. Three winning teams are chosen, based on product originality, problem solution, marketability and other factors. The remainder of the series highlights the process of trying to get the products to market.

“It’s an honor. The competition is like a sped-up creation process,” said Yuxuan Tang, a senior accountancy major. “I’m really looking forward to this chance. I might not sleep in the next 48 hours.”

Tang along with Will Jones, Dash Kosaka, and Susie Liu will represent the University of Illinois against teams from 11 other universities, including Georgetown, Rice, Miami (FL), Connecticut and more. Jones, Kosaka and Liu are engineering and design majors. Tang is the only business student on the team, and he brings a valuable perspective.

“Being able to make the model is important, but the rest of the team should diversify,” said Tang. “You need some people to see ‘How’s the market? What do customers think of this service?’ That’s what business people do.”

All four students are either staff or volunteers at the Illinois MakerLab, the world’s first Business School 3D Printing Lab. It’s what brought four students from different disciplines together for this national competition.

“The Illinois MakerLab is a gathering spot for students across campus,” said Aric Rindfleisch, John M. Jones Professor of Marketing. “On any given day, our lab is filled with students from business, engineering, design, architecture and other majors. Thus, in addition to providing students with the tools to turn their ideas into objects, our lab also provides them with the opportunity to share their ideas with a diverse array of students.”

At this point, the students involved have made the MakerLab an integral part of their experience at Illinois.

“This is a technology that’s really coming up, and I’m surprised how many people don’t know about it,” said Will Jones, a junior majoring in systems engineering. “I work with it almost every day. For product design, this is being used more and more. To be a part of it, it’s really cool to have that knowledge.”

Filming begins on Friday at the Stanley Black and Decker Innovation Lab in Towson, MD, where the teams will compete in a 48-hour competition.

“These students are in the midst of learning the skills needed to become innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Tim Perra, Vice President of Public Affairs for Stanley Black and Decker. “They’re going to be put to the test like never before in a 48-hour competition.”

Make 48 is presented and distributed to public television stations nationwide. The first two seasons are airing on PBS.