Carnegie Mellon University

Green Team posing in Penguin's lockerroom with their trophy

March 18, 2019

Rusali's Team Creates “Best Prototype” in Rethink the Rink Competition

When spectators watch a hockey game, their focus is on the players’ athleticism and quick reflexes. But all of the hits, slapshots, and fouls can lead to injuries—taking key players out of the game. To enhance player safety, “Maker Space Rethink the Rink” challenged students to design hockey helmets that better protect players from injury.

“Rethink the Rink” is an initiative of The Pittsburgh Penguins, Covestro, and Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering. 2019 marks the second year that students spent one week creating prototypes that were presented to high-level executives for the Penguins and Covestro, a world-leading supplier of high-tech polymer materials.

CEE sophomore Ryan Rusali participated in the event—on a team of CMU students from across the university’s majors. He was drawn to the project because it allowed him to spend Spring Break collaborating on a creative and innovative project. He’s also a big hockey fan.

Rusali explains that the biggest challenge he faced was getting comfortable with his teammates’ work styles. “Everyone on the team was highly motivated and seemed to have an interest in doing as well as they could,” he says. The team was intent on creating an innovative solution to a real-world problem.

At the end of the week, Rusali and his team explained the prototype to the audience and judges. His team’s hard work paid off. On March 15, they received the “Best Prototype Award” during a ceremony at the Covestro Innovation Rink at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, PA.

“It was a great opportunity to collaborate on a project that supports design thinking and engineering thought processes,” Rusali says. “It's the first time I felt like I was actually making a difference in the world, using the things I learned in school. It was everything I could have hoped for and captured all of the reasons why I came to CEE in the first place.”
Green Team post presenation
Rusali holds the dye pack pieces of their prototype after the groups present their concepts to the panel of judges.
Poster of their concept
Teams created posters to display along with their prototypes
Green Team Prototype
Green Team Prototype
team poses as they accept their award
The Green Team poses as they accept their award