The desire for unique experiences catering to our personal needs is growing exponentially, and has become a driving force behind the innovation of the products and services we use daily. In the 2023 edition of Invent Oregon, we witnessed a wave of projects that aimed to enhance the user experience in various domains, from fitness to entertainment. Among these innovative projects, two stood out in their mission to revolutionize user experiences through personalized technology.
Slap Weights: Bridging the Gap in Weight Training
Lifting weights is a pursuit that combines strength, discipline and dedication. However, for many fitness enthusiasts, progress is often frustrated by injury, due to the lack of smaller weight increments to increase lifting capacity safely. Enter Slap Weights, a brilliant invention created by Sean Bullock, Chance Saechao, Caitlin Vanderberg-Rolls and Daniel Bordenave of Oregon State University.
Slap Weights is a small, two-and-a-half-pound add-on weight designed to be easily attached to any dumbbell. It may seem like a minor addition, but it offers a revolutionary solution to a prevalent issue in the fitness world. Often, when lifting weights, individuals find themselves stuck between the standard five-pound increment gap. The current weight may be too light for a challenging workout, while the next five-pound increase can prove to be too heavy and risky.
“And I was in this exact situation. The current weight I had was a little bit too light. It wasn't very challenging, but the next weight was a bit too heavy, right? And so I went ahead, tried that next weight. And when I was completing that last rep I just got this sharp pain in my neck and then I basically strained myself.” says Bullock.
Slap Weights aims to bridge this gap by providing a two-and-a-half-pound intermediate step, allowing lifters to have a more steady progression in their training. Slap Weights is a game-changer that empowers fitness enthusiasts to push their boundaries safely and effectively, unlocking their full potential in the gym.
Soundspider: Elevating Personal Audio to New Heights
Soundspider is on a mission to take the personal audio experience to a whole other level. While we have enjoyed immersive sound in movie theaters, and at home with speakers, total sound immersion has been elusive when it comes to headphones.
Tanner Smith and Hayden Jennings from Southern Oregon University are the genius minds behind Soundspider's new line of headphones that bring cinematic sound quality to the immersive audio experience, augmenting how we register directionality, and enhancing our orientation in a total sound landscape.
“So it's interesting: I am a big music fan and it all came from "how can I listen to music better? " And I did the whole kind of writing the plans down on a napkin in the middle of the library. I came up with this idea to have 18 speakers in the headphones.” says Jennings.
The 18 speaker design aims to magnify the subtleties of certain sound waves, and amplify our aural faculties. Whether you're a music enthusiast, a gamer, movie lover, an EMT, or soldier, the possible applications of these headphones offer an elevated sensory experience that promises an elevated performance, whether you’re out in the field, or at home on the couch. By pushing the boundaries of audio technology, Soundspider's headphones assure an unparalleled listening experience.
In the quest to enhance unique user experiences, enterprises like Slap Weights and Soundspider are producing some of the most groundbreaking inventions of our time, elevating our everyday activities to new measures and magnitudes.