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Gulf High graduate competes to Get on the Shelf at Wal-Mart

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NEW PORT RICHEY — The problem was a warm case of beer and it was up to two mechanical engineers to come up with a solution.

One of them, Trevor Abbott was born and raised in New Port Richey. The Gulf High School graduate, an International Baccalaureate scholar and Pasco County’s Most Outstanding Senior in 2010, continued the next leg of his academic journey at the University of Florida

Now a UF senior majoring in mechanical engineering, Abbott is competing against innovators from around the nation for a chance to get a product he helped create on the shelf at Wal-Mart. The device, which spins beer cans in ice to quickly chill them, has made it to the second round of Wal-Marts Get On the Shelf contest Voting ends in two days, on Sept. 2.

The project started this summer when the Abbott spent three months inside a Victorian house with free food and lodging, his only task to invent new technologies and start a company. At HackerHouse, according to its website, “...innovation is not only the mantra but the lifestyle. 8 young geniuses live, eat, and breathe what it takes to become a true innovator.”

Hacking traditionally calls to mind solitary individuals with code names who circumvent security systems through their computer and even write viruses. The term has extended to include other types of people, like Abbot, who like “taking something you percieve for a certain use, for instance we took a drill used for drilling holes, and making its use completely different.

The night before the Hack-A-Thon, Abbot and friend Ty Parker were too impatient to wait for a case of beer to cool down in a bucket of ice. Abbott recalled hearing that spinning a can of beer and ice could cool it down faster so the duo set off to Wal-Mart to find a product they could re-imagine for this purpose.

Using a cordless drill, L-brackets, a switch and duct tape, the two rigged a prototype that attaches to a can of beer, spins it rapidly and chills it in 30-60 seconds. They dubbed it the Spin Chill.

The judges at HackerHouse loved it.

“Our research is one of the best part about it,” Abbott said, laughing. “We have to be sure the clip holds the beer on and does it for a certain amount of time and enough beers. When you chills beer down you can’t just have a cold beer sitting there, you have to drink it.”

When the team got back to Gainesville, several friends told them they’d be willing to buy the product. Abbott and Parker set off to make a “clip” to use with any standard cordless drill. The first set was 3D printed but not to their liking. The second time, they 3D-printed a mold that they poured liquid plastic into to harden.

This attachment, which the team sold online before closing their store to comply with the rules of the On the Shelf Contest, is called a Chill Bit. The Spin Chill evolved into the Beerouette, a device that spins the beer without the need for a drill. This is the product the engineers are trying to get sold at Wal-Mart.

“Ty came up with the name,” Abbot said. “It’s like a ballerina gently spinning your beer.”

If Abbott’s product progresses to the third stage, he and Parker will be followed by a film crew for a Web series. The final winners will be determined by another round of voting, this time on the Web series videos. For now, he’s got a Kickstarter campaign running to fundraise $10,000 for the product to “get the ball rolling.”

Ultimately, Abbott hopes to open an engineering firm that does research and development of alternative sources of energy.

Anyone can vote for for the Beerouette twice daily through Sept. 2 at https://getontheshelf.walmart.com/product/1a3b/The-Beerouette. For more infromation about the science behind the product, visit www.spinchill.com.

dmiller@suncoastnews.com (727) 815-1067

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