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RCC to host Invent Oregon finals Sept. 18

Rogue Community College will host the Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge Finals (InventOR) on Sept. 18. The annual event will be available for free to the public online. Rogue Community College will have one finalist in the competition. To register for the live-streamed event, go to inventoregon.org.

Invent Oregon is Oregon’s only statewide invention competition. It is an exciting opportunity for college and university innovators and entrepreneurs to take their ideas from concept to prototype. At the InventOR Finals, you will get the first look at Oregon’s newest inventions.

“Rogue Community College is proud to host InventOR 2020,” said college President Cathy Kemper-Pelle. “This is our third year participating in this amazing showcase of entrepreneurial talent, and we are excited to host the first online event, keeping this annual tradition in place for Oregon students. This event changes students' lives by empowering learning, unleashing talent, and developing a culture of creativity that is contagious within our communities.”

RCC student Landon Hunter will present his invention, Markerbot, at the finals. A graduate of Ashland High School, Hunter is an engineering student at RCC and plans to attend Oregon Tech in fall 2021 to pursue his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering.

Markerbot is a programmable robotic device that draws complicated diagrams on whiteboard. Hunter said it is especially useful for math and graphing applications. RCC instructor and Invent Oregon mentor Dusty Rittenbach envisions Hunter’s invention as an excellent tool for teachers and for students to use in small workgroups. There are also possible business uses, especially on whiteboards not easy to reach that need frequent changes, Rittenbach said. 

Eighteen student teams from 13 Oregon colleges and universities will compete for $35,000 in prizes to take their prototypes to the next level. To prepare for the Finals, teams have received $2,500 to fund development of their prototypes. Additionally, teams have been matched with a business development mentor to refine their ideas and further develop their product pitches and received free workspace.

Teams are judged on the quality of their ideas, the strength of their pitches, and the viability of their prototypes. Over the course of the year, students participated in preliminary invention competitions on their home campuses before advancing to the semifinal round at Portland State University in May, when 21 teams were selected to advance to the finals.

InventOR is made possible by The Lemelson Foundation, Business Oregon, Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Oregon Lottery, Stoel Rives, Horan Media Tech, Portland State University and PSU Center for Entrepreneurship.