UIC student takes second in design competition

Caleb Blankenbaker

UIC junior Caleb Blankenbaker won 2nd place and $1,750 in the International Housewares Association Student Design Competition.

Blankenbaker was honored for his design of Arome Coffee Bean Roaster, an electric air roaster that functions like an air popcorn popper. The product makes roasting coffee beans at home as easy as brewing coffee, while also being safer and more energy efficient than other roasters. The shape allows the user to comfortably pick it up and pour the roasted beans into a grinder or jar. The product features Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and the user has complete control over the roast curve to manage heat.

He will present his product to 60,000 visitors from more than 125 countries at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago March 10-13.

The Student Design Competition’s challenge to students is to redesign a current housewares product to meet the needs of the future or to create a concept for a new product. Winning projects are selected for their innovation, understanding of production and marketing principles, and quality of entry materials.

This year, there were 217 entries from 29 schools — including universities in Canada, India and Israel.


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