University of Oregon


San Francisco design firms have their eye on Marcus Triest, a senior studying product design at the University of Oregon. Why all the attention?

Triest seems to have singlehandedly brought back an old favorite – the boombox. Melding the best of old and new he designed an innovative do-it-yourself boom box to transport the iPod. He posted his design with step-by-step instructions on Instructables and it immediately went viral. You’ll find mention of his design on sites like Lifehacker, Ubergizmo, Makezine, Technabob, Redferret, Holykaw, Tuaw and Jamesbom. Since posting his instructions, he’s received 70,000 hits. All the free publicity might even translate into an internship with a San Francisco design company just as he’s about to graduate.

The boombox runs on an AAA battery and includes an Altec Lansing speaker, electrical wire, and two pieces of fiberboard around acrylic. The total cost of the materials is around $35 dollars. Triest designed the product in an Advanced Design Tools class as part of the University of Oregon’s product design program.

He is one of many product innovators at the UO. The university offers a BA/BS in material and product studies in Eugene along with a BFA in product design in Portland. Students enrolled in these programs have been widely recognized for their innovative design work:

– UO students competed in the 19th Annual Student Design Competition sponsored by the International Housewares Association by turning ordinary housewares into innovative, simple, and durable technologies from toaster ovens to easier-to-clean glass surfaces (read more)

– Three UO students were invited to participate in the “Innovative Design Competition to Develop Next Generation Applications for Portable Power” sponsored by Ascent Solar Technology, Inc. The students designed covers for bicycle seats with solar cells for charging cell phones, laptops and other small portable electronic devices and also designed solar ready pop-up tents for vendors at the local farmers’ market (read more).

– UO students’ furniture designs have been cited as some of the best in show at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

– Students created the Campus Mini Velo Bike which was entered into the Oregon Manifest bike design challenge (read more).

UO faculty members have developed an interdisciplinary Green Product Design Network and the UO has chosen sustainable product design as a focus for the future, drawing on a tradition of excellence in sustainable design, all things green, and environmental friendliness.

In fact, in 2011 the UO was ranked #1 in “sustainable design practices and principles” by America’s Best Architectural Schools.

Cheer’s to Oregon’s leading position in designing a more sustainable future! To learn more about product design at the UO visit the program website at

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