Design Challenge


Always wanted to fly, zap your enemies with lightning, or own an invisibility cloak?  Now’s your chance to apply your design and engineering skills to achieve your dreams.  TEI is delighted to announce its first student design challenge, which will focus on superhero costumes and accessories.  

Designs will be presented at a special runway event during TEI 2011 on the evening of Monday January 24.


Ahimsa is a hero who uses conscience, not violence. He uses computer vision and augmented reality to inhibit any kind of violence.
• Koji Pereira, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)
• Marcos Paulo Machado, Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC Minas)

With his body being an endless source of energy, Axon defeats his enemies by collecting, directing and releasing that energy through a strong blast that wipes away everything on it’s path.
• Jacquelyn van Kampen, Technical University Eindhoven
• Joost Aanen, Technical University Eindhoven
• Marianne Akker, Technical University Eindhoven
• Koen Beljaars, Technical University Eindhoven

The Bubble Pop Electric super suit gives any ordinary performer complete control of their performance! Dazzling LEDs and glowing bubbles allow the super performer to wow the crowd, while real bubbles and laser eyes fight off evil music executives.
• Alex Olivier, Wellesley College
• Alison McKenna, Wellesley College
• Lorraine Shim, Wellesley College

Once a humble industrial-revolution machinist, Skip Sprocket was transformed into Captain Chronomek: the Continuum’s top Post-Victorian-Pre-Singularity agent. A flying, time-traveling MacGyver, Captain Chronomek hacks the timeline with the technology of the past to prevent a dark future.
• Joshua Tanenbaum, Simon Fraser University
• Karen Tanenbaum, Simon Fraser University
• Allen Bevans, Simon Fraser University

Chamleon Girl is queen of camouflage, changing colour to match her surroundings. Moreover her senses are extended by being able to feel things behind her so she’ll always know if a sneaky super-villain is creeping up on her!
• Rose Johnson, Open University
• Stefan Kreitmayer, Open University
• Anna Xambo, Open University

After a cosmetology experiment goes awry, Naomi Darian loses her eyesight. She becomes The Cnidarian, a jellyfish supervillain with luminescent powers, an appetite for revenge, and killer style.
• Natalie Freed, MIT Media Lab
• Jie Qi, MIT Media Lab
• Adam Setapen, MIT Media Lab
• Pol Pla, MIT Media Lab
• Emma Freed, London College of Fashion

The results I achieved were the consequence of invention pure and simple.
• Daniel Wessolek, Bauhaus University Weimar
• Jamie L. Ferguson, Bauhaus University Weimar
• Jörg Brinkmann, Bauhaus University Weimar

Hawl is a successful conductor working with his orchestra. Music is Hawl’s love of life during the day. At the same time, he lives a secret life. He has a mysterious power of controlling music to spread joy and to defeat devils around him. As long as evils are threatening the world, here comes Hawl to the rescue.
• Szu-Chia Lu, Georgia Tech
• Chih-Pin Hsiao, Georgia Tech
• Stephanie Ahn, Georgia Tech
• Andy Wu, Georgia Tech

He came from the far east old Shao Lin temple. He fights like the wind. In the day time he sells roast duck in the market. At night he fights with the dark evil power in the sin city, protecting the spirit of Zang. His name is KFF, Kung Fu Fight.
• Huaishu Peng, Carnegie Mellon University
• Cheng Xu, Carnegie Mellon University
• Kuanju Wu, Carnegie Mellon University
• Ying jung Chen, Carnegie Mellon University

Providing the ultimate form of invisibility with her initially dull and negligible appearance. The Morphess transforms into a stunning and brilliant sight. Through several changes, the Morphess becomes a presence to be reckoned with.
• Consuelo Valdes, Wellesley College
• Heidi Wang, Wellesley College
• Taili Feng, Wellesley College
• Annie Wang, Wellesley College

Saturday Light Fever is inpired by butterfly biomimicry and blinds the bad with brightness! Our super hero beats evil with inncocent appearance and dazzles with surprise effects.
• Evelyn Lebis, Swedish School of Textiles, Boras
• Laura Clausen, Swedish School of Textiles, Boras
• Javier Fereira Gonzalez, Swedish School of Textiles, Boras
• Ruben Buendia, Swedish School of Textiles, Boras

Sonik Youth examines the use of sound as a way to mediate the space between personal and public space.
• Heather Knight, Carnegie Mellon University
• Angela Chang, MIT Media Lab


October 31st: Entry deadline (a simple email with details about your team, nothing actually due)
December 10th: TEI early registration deadline (confirm challenge participation by registering)
Dec. 10th-Jan. 22nd: Project development
January 23-26th: TEI conference: design presentation


Projects will be presented at a special runway event held during TEI 2011.  Each team will have 5-10 minutes to dazzle the crowd with a demonstration of their costume in action.  This presentation will be modeled on a fashion runway show, so teams should arrange to have someone wear and demonstrate the costume in person.

We will award cash prizes of $1000 each in three categories:

• Inventiveness
• Quality of execution
• Presentation and style

All TEI attendees will vote to elect the winners in each category.


To reserve a place in the design challenge, send an entry email to the challenge chair, Leah Buechley ( no later than October 31st, 2010. The email should contain:

1) A list of team members and their affiliations (only students are allowed to participate)

2) Primary contact name (one person) and information:

• Email address
• Phone number
• Contact address

Send these details to Leah Buechley:


Teams should consist of 1-5 members.  A person can serve on more than one team, but each team must consist of a unique group of people.

During the voting period, each team will be allowed to present one ensemble that can include garments and gadgets for one superhero.  Teams will not be allowed to present multiple ensembles.  All gadgets should be wearable/portable.  Watches, swords, and stilts are fair game; cars, side kicks, and (non-portable) dwellings are not.

At least one person on each team must be registered and present at TEI.

Teams must bring the computers, hardware, and materials necessary for their project to the conference. No equipment will be given out at TEI. TEI will provide lighting and music, and we expect to be able to accommodate reasonable sound and lighting requests.