July 12, 2014 at 5:08 pm

'Moving garden' wins top prize at creation contest in Eastern Market

Red Bull Creation competiton
Red Bull Creation competiton: Makers, hackers and builders participate in an invention competition

Detroit— The topic was “Reinventing the Wheel” and Team MakerTwins took that literally.

The four-person team from Phoenix created a ferris wheel-type spinning planter made of recycled shipping pallettes. With their moving garden, the team took top honors at the Red Bull Creation competition.

“It’s basically a veggie vending machine,” said Mike Murray. “One used pallett makes one plant box, so anybody can create a garden anywhere with something that this is free to $4.”

Seven teams of makers, hackers and builders created themed inventions during the fourth annual Red Bull Creation competition. They had 72 hours to envision, plan and execute an invention to help the community.

The teams, including three from Metro Detroit, as well as entrants from Chicago, Minneapolis and San Diego, showed off their creations to the public at Eastern Market.

Many teams chose food or growing-themed inventions in honor of their locale.

Dan Carmody, CEO of Eastern Market, said the spirit of the competiton matches the entrepreneurial spirit of the farmers and creators who sell at the market.

“The market is more than about food, it’s about people coming to share ideas,” Carmody said. “Farm ethic.”

Team I3Detroit from Ferndale created what they call “RoboCrop,” an electronic scarecrow made from used car parts. It can water plants from its mouth and move its arms to scare away pests using motion detectors. In addition, a video screen hooked up to the controls allows the grower to keep an eye on how the plants are doing.

They took home awards for People’s Choice and Teams’ Choice.

Carmody said he liked it so much, he wants to keep it at Eastern Market.

“It was great being in our home turf,” said team member Marie Enga. “It’s fun.”

Although their scarecrow was eye catching for sure, another part of their creation might be even more useful. The I3 team was showing off their concept for a recycled greenhouse. They nailed together broken car windshields onto pallettes, which, when combined, could be used as a greenhouse for growing plants.

“It cost us just $20 for fastners,” said Enga. “The auto shops were thrilled to get rid of the windshields.”

(313) 222-2127

'The Grow Cycle,' a veggie vending machine with a mid-evil flair, made by twins Pat and Mike Murray, Adam Wheeler and Jesse Newsome, all of Phoenix, Arizona on display Saturday at the Red Bull Creation contest in Eastern Market. / Todd McInturf / The Detroit News
Team I3 member Marie Enga, 31, of Royal Oak, operates 'RoboCrop,' a robot ... (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)