“It’s one of those ideas that is so good you wonder why it hadn’t been done before. It just makes sense,” said Randy Bartlett, professor of industrial design in Auburn University’s School of Industrial and Graphic Design.
He’s referring to entrepreneur Hutch Hammond’s vision of a more reliable and easier-to-use digital LED down marker in football games.
Hammond, vice president of operations at Victory Game Clocks, enlisted the help of Bartlett’s third-year industrial design studio to make the LED down markers a reality. The Auburn Technical Assistance Center in Auburn’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business helped arrange the collaboration that has led to the design of eDown, an electronic down marker used on football Saturdays in Jordan-Hare Stadium this fall.
Victory Game Clocks, located in Roanoke, designs and manufactures electronic products for professional, college and high school sports. The company has distinguished its product line by creating innovative products, such as wireless controllers, which are designed to provide ease of operation, better reliability and more flexibility. Current down markers use digits that are painted on plastic or metal plates and flipped when the down changes.
Sixteen students in teams of two spent the 2015 spring semester researching and designing concepts that were lighter, more flexible and much easier to use—with their result hitting the Auburn gridiron at the start of the 2016 season.
They worked with Dana Marquez, athletic equipment manager for Auburn’s athletics department, and Wes Fuller, member of the Auburn University “chain gang” football game officials, to understand the human factors involved in using the down markers. The students developed eight viable concepts that were turned over to Victory Game Clocks. This past A-Day spring game, the first production models of the eDown markers were used in Jordan-Hare Stadium, and the eDown marker is now on the market and being sold nationally. More information about eDown is available on the Victory Game Clocks website at http://www.VictoryGameClocks.com.