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With $35,000 in Prizes, Invent Oregon Shows that Everybody Wins

On September 18, Oregon’s top collegiate innovators will compete with innovations that create a better future for all

Ready to be inspired? Listen to Oregon’s rising generation paint a picture of the future.

The Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge has brought together 18 teams of the most innovative and creative young problem-solvers in Oregon to compete for $35,000 in cash prizes during its 4th Annual collegiate innovation challenge finals September 18.

These rising leaders are stakeholders in our future, and their solutions demonstrate that the problems we face, like climate change and a pandemic, are obstacles that can be surmounted with ingenuity.

The System of Education Will Never Be the Same

To survive, higher education must adapt to new and rapidly evolving challenges.

In Oregon, a system of higher education that centers the student experience is built to withstand these pressures. Unlike elsewhere in the United States, partnerships bridge the divide between Oregon’s colleges and universities, and accelerator programs elevate talent from community colleges.

The path to innovation isn’t linear—nor should it be. Of more than 40 students competing at Invent Oregon on 18 teams, nine are non-traditional students returning to education after their 25th birthday, and nine others entered a major university through a community college via associate’s degrees or accelerator programs. Three teams compete with members from different institutions.

This spirit of collaboration has made Oregon’s system of higher education more dynamic. Invent Oregon represents this dynamism — students and universities pivoted as quickly as the pandemic required, and the resilience they demonstrate will carry Oregon’s institutions of learning forward through new challenges.

Here are the teams competing in this year’s challenge: 

Basking Filter, University of Oregon

Taking inspiration from filter feeders like the basking shark, Basking Filter created a water filter with an anti-clogging skeleton that makes wastewater treatment cheaper, less wasteful, and easier to maintain

PopMemories, University of Oregon

Saim Mohammed has developed a three-dimensional popup card that you can personalize with your own photos

Team Alpha, George Fox University

Team Alpha has developed a sensor that more comfortably measures muscle movement, allowing prostheses to fit more snugly and reproduce movements more accurately

Accord-On!, University of Portland

Ernesto Zurita Ruiz, Stelios Papoutsakis, and Victoria Vasquez have developed an attachment that helps musicians learn the accordion with keys that light up

Dose, University of Portland

Dose tackles the opioid epidemic with a device that dispenses only the prescribed amount of a drug when it is needed—giving patients pause to make the right choices

Click Bulb, Western Oregon University

How many inventors does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None, because Jacob Cates has invented one that installs with a magnet

Microcosm, Oregon Health and Science University

Biomedical researchers Ava Athirasa and Anthony Tahayeri have developed a way to test disease and drugs in a way that most closely resembles the body and more efficiently, providing more individualized care where it is needed most

Intramon, Oregon Health and Science University

Intramon is a stent that communicates with a smartphone to tell physicians how blocked an artery is, preventing potentially fatal events and reducing the cost of care for the world’s most fatal disease

Brake Boys, Oregon State University

Jesse Andres thinks the sport of longboarding should be for everyone, so he developed a footbrake that makes it easier for longboarders to slow down on steep hills

Smart Strike, Oregon State University

Jon Cordisco, Jonah Diehl, and Sadie Thomas have created a slim insert for a running shoe that measures how a runner’s foot strikes the ground, helping runners everywhere track their performance and prevent injury

MarkerBot, Rogue Community College

Landon Hunter’s passion for engineering and education at Rogue Community College have helped him develop a machine-assisted teaching aid that translates handwritten lecture notes onto a vertical whiteboard

Open Source Rocket Academy, Portland State University

Teresa Nguyen, Kathleen Joslyn, Risto Rushford and Jennifer Jordan are training the next generation of rocket scientists in a way that’s more cost-efficient and available to anyone, regardless of where they come from

Mafix, Portland State University

Jacob Brauer and the Mafix team have developed what they believe is the world’s first carbon-negative construction material, basalt fiber that is stronger than steel and can harvest carbon pound for pound

SLAM, Oregon Institute of Technology

When his brother requested a marshmallow gun, Avery McMillan gave him one—with an attachment McMillan invented that can fire marshmallows ten times faster than a normal marshmallow gun

Team Omicron, George Fox University

The engineering department at George Fox wastes 3D-printed plastic at an alarming rate, and Team Omicron has developed a device that will help engineers recycle the plastic that they would ordinarily throw away

Broadway To Go, Clackamas Community College

Dustin Jablonski, Ethen Andrews, and Mike Weston have developed a lightweight, mobile, easy-to-use lighting system for small-scale performance productions, like concerts or theater in the park

Better Brain and Body, Warner Pacific University

Brandon Medrano-Montes and Marcos Romero-Turner have infused a protein bar with shilajit, one of the most important Ayurvedic medicines, to boost energy, focus, and performance

Safe Start, Lewis & Clark College

Ramez Attia and Matthew Brown have created a device that measures blood alcohol content in a respectful way, helping drivers make the right decision before they get behind the wheel

This year InventOR finals will be live-streamed to attend register at InventOR home page

Invent Oregon 2020 is hosted by Rogue Community College and brought by our presenting sponsors including the Lemelson Foundation, Business Oregon, The Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Oregon Lottery, Stoel Rives, Horan MediaTech and Portland State University.

Media contacts: 

Christina Williams

Portland State Media Relations 

(503) 539-3619 (mobile)

(503) 725-8789 (office)

Jonathan Stull

InventOR Communications

(503) 705-1948

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