The annual student inventors competition featured 16 teams from 10 Oregon higher learning institutions
The Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge concluded its seventh annual year-long competition on June 22, with the top prize going to Slap Weight, founded by Oregon State University students Sean Bullock, Caitlin Vanderberg, Daniel Bordenave, and Chance Saechao.
The OSU students took home $10,000 in prizes for their weight system that slap-attaches to barbells, increasing weight by half increments to mitigate injuries associated with adding weight loads too quickly.
Organized by the Portland State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Invent Oregon, the state’s only college-level prototyping competition is an exciting, equitable and inclusive call to action for Oregon-based college and university students to take their ideas for world-changing inventions from the drawing board to reality.
The competition awarded $30,000 in prizes, showcasing Oregon’s most promising student inventors. Awards and winners were announced in a live-streamed event Thursday, June 22nd.
OSU’s Nathan Mathews and Terry Nahm-Kayln nabbed the second place slot with Wheelchair Mate, an open source, 3-D printed universal rail system connecting various wheelchair accessories.
LearnSesh, featuring Umpqua Community College’s Isaiah Weiss & Jeremy Lin, took third place with their virtual reality educational platform that creates equitable learning interfaces for traditionally difficult subjects. The UCC team were also recipients of the Outstanding Community College award.
Fourth place went to PSU's Team 'Bucha, founded by Pablo Cazares & Ava Zavala, who created a method for utilizing the fermented SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) in Kombucha production to create leather-like textiles, bringing new biotech clothing styles to market.
The People’s Choice award went to Willamette University’s Rebekah Bond, Sarah Diamond, Jon Kirk, and Riley Schweizer whose Learn to Play playgrounds promote 3D learning of science through anatomical structures of scientific materials and concepts. Learn to Play included a QR code linked to their website to learn more about this endeavor.
Invent Oregon’s website features a complete list of this year's competing teams.
Through the Invent Oregon program, students are empowered through mentorship and education to recognize themselves as innovators, technical problem-solvers and future entrepreneurs. They receive up to $2,500 in development grants to take their invention from an idea to a working prototype while learning about the processes of networking and commercialization.
This year’s Invent Oregon awards ceremony occurred at Portland's Redd East Event Space, where the main event hall features a large, two-story industrial press–a serendipitous monument to the industriousness of the event’s talented competitors.
Invent Oregon sponsors include the Lemelson Foundation, Business Oregon, Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Roundhouse Foundation, Oregon Venture Fund, Horan Media Tech, Wells Fargo, and Stoel Rives.