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UW senior Danielle McIntosh's fascination with hula-hoops one day lead to an epiphany. How was one to transport the brightly colored hoops of endless swiveling fun?
And so the Hoopla Rack was born. The invention won McIntosh $5,700 in prize money at the College of Engineering's Innovation Days this spring.
How did the love affair begin? It's your classic tale of a girl and her beloved hoop. McIntosh was intrigued by a friend who brought his hula-hoop over to her apartment. She and her roommates would practice hooping, and she "found herself thinking about it even when her friend wasn’t around." She decided to fashion her own hoop.
“I looked up on the Internet how to do it, and it was really easy, and I was just hooked after that,” she says. She soon had a thriving hula-hoop making business, selling more than 50 hula-hoops to people all over the country the first year. She has since quit the hoop-fashioning business to focus on her studies.
McIntosh has not yet decided whether she’ll market the hula-hoop rack, which has a manufacturing cost of $160, but she is currently seeking a patent for the design.
The Hoopla Rack project took up more than 20 hours per week as part of her capstone senior design class for biological systems engineering. Course credit for a hula-hoop rack? She's a clever one.