Continuing the momentum with Make-a-thon 2019
New focus explores safety innovation in goalie helmets

The success of the world’s first hockey Make-a-thon inspired a second!

In March 2019, Covestro, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carnegie Mellon University reunited for the second annual Make-a-thon, kicking off year two of the Rethink the Rink initiative. This time, the unlikely trio focused on a new aspect of hockey innovation – player safety equipment.

Once again, the Make-a-thon brought together diverse teams of Carnegie Mellon engineering students for a weeklong ideation event at the school’s Makerspace.

The students worked with Penguins coaching staff, equipment managers, former players and Covestro technical experts to design goalie helmet prototypes. Their challenge was to uncover material solutions that strengthen player protection, without inhibiting player performance.

The young innovators blew the Rethink the Rink team away, when they presented their creative concepts at the Covestro Innovation Rink. Many of the energy-absorbing helmet designs were inspired by real-world applications – from car airbags to nature’s hard-headed animals, like rams and woodpeckers.

Check out the video below for the highlights!


Transforming ideas into action
Covestro hires ‘Helmet Hackers’

Helmet hackers

The project continues to make headway (literally) …

Duplicating the “Rink Researcher” model from the previous year, Covestro hired two of the Make-a-thon 2019 participants to work at its Pittsburgh site full-time during the summer. Former Rink Researcher Ian Suzuki (pictured right) returned as a “Helmet Hacker,” working alongside Joanna Baranowski (pictured left) to develop and design a safer goalie helmet prototype.

The two Helmet Hackers continued building on the creative ideas generated during Make-a-thon, with support and guidance from Covestro material experts, the Penguins and a major helmet manufacturer. Their innovative design will be transformed into a commercial prototype for further testing.

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