Jayden Trocke wins seventh annual WiSys Prototype Hackathon

Written by Elizabeth Krenzelok, WiSys on |
Jayden Trocke receives first place award

University of Wisconsin-Platteville senior Jayden Trocke received first place at the seventh annual WiSys Prototype Hackathon Pitch Event on Nov. 28.

The pitch event was the final part of the WiSys Prototype Hackathon, and 12 students on campus participated in the learning sessions. The learning sessions are part of WiSys Innovation On-Ramp, a five-week interactive online course encouraging students to build their innovative thinking skills. Students had the opportunity to work on their projects throughout the fall with support from WiSys staff and UW-Platteville faculty. The online learning was also open to UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout and UW-Green Bay students.

Trocke, graduating in the spring with a degree in electrical engineering, impressed the judges and crowd with his presentation titled “Engineering the Study of Musical Instruments.” Since music lessons can be expensive and difficult to find the right instructors and schedule, Trocke wants to make them more accessible to the masses. He plans to create a device that shows individuals the proper hand placement, key placement, or key presses to help with sight reading the music, helping them learn the instrument faster. Trocke demonstrated his project for the judges using a cello outfitted with lights to show the notes and hand placement.

With his win at the competition, Trocke receives the $1,000 top prize and qualifies for the WiSys Big Idea Tournament, which will be held in April and help Trocke fine-tune his pitch and showcase the project in front of a statewide audience.

First-year UW-Platteville mechanical engineering student Gillie Suarez earned second place and $500 for his SpotStem pitch, which aims to solve an issue many cyclists face: lighting being an afterthought on their bicycles. The spotlight improves some existing bicycle components and includes the additional functionality of a spotlight. Second place was sponsored by the Platteville Regional Chamber.

Sophomore Austin Lee, majoring in mechanical engineering, received third place and $250 from the UW-Platteville Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for his project “Autonomous Soil Sampling Solutions (AS3).” He plans to simplify and lower the cost of testing and sampling soil with the technology and shorten the process’s length.  

Additional competition participants include mechanical engineering student Zackary Watters, who plans to reduce the emissions from two-stroke engines with a more efficient design, and the team of Ben Dorn and William Husen, engineering students who created Fixie Tubes, which can replace expensive nixie tubes (tubes primarily used in clock numbers) with new LED technology.

Judges for this year’s event included:

  • Stuart Anders, inventor of the slap bracelet and Owner/Founder, Allied Industries
  • Ela Kakde, Regional Economic Development Director, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
  • Wayne Wodarz, Executive Director, Platteville Regional Chamber
  • Dr. Thomas Zopler, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, UW-Platteville