Aya Ayoubi calls it “humanitarian couture.”
The fourth-year industrial design student’s unique garment took home top honors at Georgia Tech’s 13th annual InVenture Prize competition, which pits student innovations head-to-head.
Ayoubi says she had to learn how to sew to execute her vision — an inflatable, reversible, and waterproof jacket that transforms, through a series of zips, into an air mattress or a sheltering garment to protect from the elements. She says the garment is geared to provide safety and dignity to homeless populations.
Not only did Ayoubi’s Delta Jacket win the $20,000 first place prize awarded by the judges, Ayoubi also took home the People’s Choice Award and an additional $5,000 after a public vote during Wednesday night’s airing on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Along with the cash prizes, the winner receives a free U.S. patent filing from Georgia Tech valued at $20,000.
Delta Jacket will also be accepted into the CREATE-X Startup Launch program, which will provide additional seed funding and access to legal assistance and expert mentors to build a successful startup company.
“Winning the InVenture Prize means I could help, potentially, hundreds of thousands of people, so thank you,” said Ayoubi.
During her winning pitch, Ayoubi explained the strategy of selling the Delta Jacket to outdoor enthusiasts as a means of creating access to the product for the homeless — with the donation of a jacket to a person in need, for every jacket purchased. Ayoubi has also been in contact with several nonprofit organizations, including the Red Cross, who have expressed interest in her garment.
Ayoubi is already filling online orders and plans to keep developing her wearable innovation as she completes her degree at Georgia Tech.
“I’ve already received 512 preorders and my website has only launched a few days ago,” she said. “The Red Cross has already committed to distributing 1,000 units of the Delta Jackets as soon as it’s manufactured.”
Two team members from StartProto took the second place prize of $10,000.
Engineering students Zach Cloud and Tim Felbinger developed a digital safety and analytics system that can be used to organize access and safety protocols in makerspaces at schools across the country. The software and app are already being tested by Georgia Tech’s makerspaces on campus.
“We’ve been approached by other colleges and universities who want to use StartProto,” says Felbinger.
Two-time InVenture Prize winner Dev Mandavia returned as one of three judges who adjudicated during this year’s live broadcast.
“The teams just get better and better each year,” Mandavia said. “All of these companies have elements that can be successful.”
“This year we’ve seen how important innovation is for changing how we work and live,” said Blake Patton, a judge and founder of Tech Square Ventures in Atlanta. “If these students are any indication, our future’s bright.”
Fourth-year industrial design student Aya Ayoubi won $25,000 in cash prizes with her invention at the 2021 InVenture Prize.
Delta Jacket Wins 2021 Georgia Tech InVenture Prize
Teammates Zach Cloud and Tim Felbinger want to assist schools’ makerspaces through their unique safety and analytics system that can be used to track and control access to tools in shared environments.
StartProto wins second place at 2021 InVenture Prize
Last revised March 18, 2021