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Ian Carlson prototypes his award-winning design

After winning the Fall 2013 Husky Startup Challenge, Art + Design student Ian Carlson is hard at work prototyping his designs for Dash, a modification that converts a longboard (a type of skateboard) into an electric vehicle. We asked Ian about his background, the Husky Startup Challenge, and what he’s working on now.


Ian Carlson


Sudbury, MA


BS in Design with a concentration in Interaction Design

How did you choose the College of Arts, Media and Design?

I used to be in the College of Engineering but found my passion to be in product design, so I transferred to CAMD.

How did you get involved with the Husky Startup Challenge?

I was posting some concepts for Dash over the summer and a friend said that my idea was perfect for the Husky Startup Challenge and that I should apply. I hadn’t really considered it before that but I’m very glad I decided to apply. All the stress of bringing Dash to DEMO day felt worth it when I won, not because I had won but because this win would allow me to continue to develop Dash.

What is Dash?

Dash in its simplest form is an electric drivetrain kit that you can attach to most longboards on the market without making any modifications to your trucks or deck. I designed it to be extremely simple to install – it requires no power tools. It’s even simpler than putting something together from IKEA. What differentiates us from the competition is that we offer a kit as well as a complete setup, and that through efficient design and manufacturing we can offer a lightweight, yet high quality package at a price that’s affordable for the college student or young professional.

What stage of the process are you in now?

I am currently in the prototyping phase of development. While the core product is already there, I need to refine the design before bringing it to market. I am also working with IDEA, Northeastern’s venture accelerator. They provided me with a coach and are extremely enthusiastic about their ventures – they really do everything they can to help you grow and succeed.

How have your experiences this year influenced your plans for the future?

This year has changed my view and goals for the future tremendously. Seeing the excitement for Dash is really driving me to work as hard as I can to bring this to market. My current goal is to have my first co-op be at Dash so that I can work full time to further the development much more rapidly than when I am in classes. I’d also really love to assemble a team of other Northeastern co-op students to join me in bringing Dash to market.

Anything else you’d like to add?

If you want to learn more about Dash or stay up to date on our progress, you can sign up for the Dash Newsletter on our website or send me an email at DashElectricContact@gmail.com. You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.