Georgia Tech industrial design senior Daniel Chaney captured first place in the Institute’s third annual Inventure Prize for his “Slide Capo”—a hybrid guitar slide and capo that allows all new techniques and greater flexibility for guitarists to play faster and smoother. The event was televised live on Georgia Public Broadcasting Wednesday night. See the Slide Capo in action or watch the competition show now.
The top prize came with $15,000 plus a free U.S. patent filing from the Georgia Tech Office of Technology Licensing, valued at approximately $20,000.
Current guitar slides are typically a metal or glass tube that allows the player to “slide” up and down the strings to make a distinct sound used heavily in blues. A capo attaches to the neck of a guitar to depress all the strings of one fret to change the keys of a song. The Tucker, GA, native and guitar hobbyist first imagined a combined accessory in 2010. He used the School of Industrial Design’s workshop to make functional prototypes and guitarist friends for usability testing.
Chaney received mentorship and guidance from industrial design instructor Stephen Chininis, veteran inventor and designer. With Chininis’ expertise, Chaney was able to estimate the actual manufacturing cost of the Slide Capo—likely less than $5 per unit.
“With Slide Capo it’s so easy to understand,” said Sarah Blakely, founder of Spanx slimming apparel, and one of four expert judges. “It’s got great marketability—it could be in the marketplace tomorrow.”
Once the technology is patented, Chaney hopes to sell the idea to an established manufacturer such as Gibson or Dunlop. Read more about the Slide Capo.
Each year, the InVenture Prize offers incentives, resources and a structure for undergraduate student innovation and entrepreneurship at Georgia Tech. Only seven finalists were selected from more than 300 entries, for an expert panel to judge on marketability, passion, innovation, market size and probability of success. Read more about this year’s judges.
“We’re extremely proud of Daniel and want to see even more participation from design students in the InVenture Prize competition,” said Jim Budd, chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Industrial Design. “I think it would be great to see an industrial design student serve on more of the InVenture teams, because they could add tremendous value to many inventions in the way of usability and form.”
Daniel says, "To me, the Inventure Prize is a fantastic challenge, a great opportunity and a whole lot of fun. On the whole I think it is a testament to the uncommon ingenuity, passion and creativity of the type of people who make up Georgia Tech."