KEnDERS Body Armor, DifferenceMakers
This team won Second Place in the Innovative Technology Solution category, awarding them $2,500. Team members include Elizabeth and Laura Kender, who are both Juniors studying Plastics Engineering, and Stephen Kender who is a freshman studying Mechanical Engineering. This is a family affair for the team because the three team members are siblings!
They created a novel design for sports equipment using shear-thickening fluids. In the current day of sports equipment, there is a balance between protection and performance that is extremely difficult to reach, as athletes will often risk their own safety in order to move quicker and play better. Today's equipment is inadequate for the needs of current day players. If athletes want better protection, they will have to deal with more bulky padding all over their body, severely impeding them from performing to the best of their ability. The material that KEnDERS Body Armor uses offers superior impact protection in a thinner and unobtrusive profile. Their material hardness is dependent on the force of the impact, so it is flexible under normal movements, but hardens upon impact to absorb hard blows and prevent joints from snapping unnaturally.