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Design Students, Gamers Partner Up to Develop Bag for Streaming Equipment

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Caption:  Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios giving a student advice on how to improve the design of their bag in Fletcher Hall on Friday, Feb. 8. 

(reprinted from the Vermillion, Feb 11, 2019)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette industrial design 302 students have the opportunity to work with Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios, one of the most popular streamers on Twitch to design and potentially mass produce a bag for carrying streaming equipment. The project itself is a bag tailored for transporting everything one would need to carry their equipment needed for streaming — things like cameras, microphones, cables, a laptop with them as they travel to events away from their setup at home. At the time that Barrios visited UL Lafayette, the students had only finished their first ideation sketches, or their first ideas for the product, and will go on to do two more sketches before finally building scaled models of their designs. “It’ll be finished before Mardi Gras, so it’s going to be a quick turnaround,” Adam Feld, the class’ professor, said. “We can’t truly make the bag here, I wish that we had the capability … but other than that, I feel like last time we did (a similar) project the students really rose to the challenge, and I feel like I’ve got a really good group of students who are excited about the project.”

The project started when Barrios’ sponsored team, Tempo Storm, asked him to work with RedBull eSports on the project, RedBull eSports then contacted Feld to get help from the students. Barrios, a partnered streamer on Twitch who makes a living out of it, described how “if you’re not live, you’re losing,” meaning that anytime he’s at an event and can’t stream, he loses both money and viewers. As one of the best “Super Smash Bros.” players in the world, Barrios could attend several major tournaments a month before he started streaming more consistently because he wasn’t relying on his streaming income as much. His remedy? Barrios began streaming his matches on his own stream by carrying his equipment around with the help of an assistant to hold his camera up while he plays. The bag he was using was ill-fit for carrying around so much hardware, and, thus, the concept for the bag was formed.

On Friday, Feb. 8, Barrios flew in from Florida to see the students’ designs and give them feedback on how they might improve the design. Barrios added he was looking for three things: A bag capable of organizing all of his cables, something light and something innovative. “I’ve already seen a lot of really unique ideas that I hadn’t even thought of ... and if we combine those ideas then we can make something really special here,” Barrios said. “I’ve seen around five designs, some people came up with some really crazy ideas in a good sense … Everyone tried to actually come up with something unique, which I think is very interesting.” By the end of the project, Barrios will choose whichever design he likes the most, and that student’s design will then go on to be manufactured by a company to then be used by Barrios, while the student will potentially land an internship with the company that produces their product. Dominic Adams, junior industrial design major, said he looks forward to making a full model of his project. “It’s going to feel good to actually make a real product, something that could be sold on the shelves, and especially for such a big, worldwide company like RedBull to be sponsoring it for us while we’re in school,” Adams said. “It’s definitely something that’s going to look good on anybody’s resume.” 

John Roman / The Vermilion