Auburn University students help invent sports training device - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Auburn University students help invent sports training device

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy: Trout Fitness website Courtesy: Trout Fitness website
Courtesy: Trout Fitness website Courtesy: Trout Fitness website
AUBURN, Ala. -

Auburn University students' new SledHammer innovation sparked from natural disaster clean-up.

Auburn University mechanical engineering students in Professor David Dyer's comprehensive design class take ideas and help turn them into customer-ready products. One idea, now a finished product called the SledHammer, originated when a high school football coach helped his neighbors remove debris from their yards after the April 2011 tornadoes ripped across Alabama.

Vaughn Maceina, now a strength coach and teacher at Auburn Junior High School, was living and coaching in the north Alabama town of Guntersville. "Fortunately, our community did not have any fatalities, so we were mainly dealing with property damage," Maceina said. "I was helping cut fallen trees and then rolling the logs out of the way, when I realized this rolling motion was excellent for building strength in the arms and legs, really the whole body.

Maceina and his childhood friend, local attorney Sesie Bonsi, decided to call Professor Dyer to see if he and his students could take the idea and turn it into a training device that could be used by football players and other athletes.

"They did an unbelievable job developing our concept," Maceina said.

Dyer and his students went to work and made the SledHammer that consists of either an 18- or 24-inch-diameter PVC cylinder attached by chains to two metal bases with free weights on top. "We wanted something like rolling a log and with variable resistance," Dyer said.

Three groups of six undergraduates have worked on the project, with the first group working in summer and fall 2012 to make a working prototype. They did drawings, a wooden prototype and a PVC-cylinder model, followed by a full-size, metal prototype.

"We wondered how we could add variable resistance to the cylinder," Maceina said. "The students had the idea to simply use free weights on two attached bases. The unique design allows the SledHammer to reverse directions simply by pushing it the other way as the core rolls through the sleds and goes the other direction."

A second group of students took over in 2013 and streamlined the manufacturing process and enhanced the appearance. A third group continues to work on variations of the SledHammer as well as other new fitness products.

"The students enjoy it because there are a lot of challenges in these projects," Dyer said. "The projects in our comprehensive design classes are very practical, real-world projects and the students get to work with industrial sponsors who need their assistance."

Brad Martin, a 2012 Auburn mechanical engineering graduate, was among the first students who worked on the project.

"Witnessing the SledHammer project grow from a simple hand drawing to a working prototype gave me a great sense of accomplishment," Martin said. "The lessons learned about the design process and working to meet an industrial sponsor's needs were a great base for starting my career as a mechanical engineer."

Maceina and Bonsi worked with Auburn's Office of Technology Transfer to obtain patent protection and have started a company, TROUT Fitness, featuring the SledHammer. TROUT is an acronym for toughness, resistance, originality, utility and technology—and it is Maceina's middle name.

The company has a licensing agreement with the university and has the rights to the co-owned invention. Maceina and Bonsi also worked with Auburn's Department of Industrial and Graphic Design on brand identity, paint schemes and company logos. The university's Auburn Technical Assistance Center, or ATAC, part of the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, assisted with marketing and website construction as well.

"The assistance provided by ATAC and Industrial Design was crucial in helping us develop a brand identity and Internet presence to begin a plan for selling on a larger scale," Maceina said.

Those marketing and graphic design aspects were made possible by funding from ATAC's Economic Development Administration, or EDA, grant. "Helping existing and start-up businesses like TROUT Fitness commercialize an innovation is one of our primary roles as an Outreach and EDA University Center," said David Mixson, director of the EDA University Center, part of the Auburn Technical Assistance Center.

Auburn High School and several other high schools and colleges are using or have used SledHammers as part of their training regimen, as are fitness companies.

In January, Maceina and Bonsi will travel to the American Football Coaches Association Conference in Indianapolis to display the SledHammer in front of thousands of professional, college and high school coaches. Maceina says the SledHammer can be customized with school colors and logos upon request and he adds that it can be used for other training programs such as crossfit.

More information about the SledHammer is available at www.troutfitness.com/SledHammer.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Screams, panic caught on video as shark charges at swimmers near beach

    Screams, panic caught on video as shark charges at swimmers near beach

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:48:04 GMT
    Facebook image from Dan FlynnFacebook image from Dan Flynn
    A Florida beach cleared out – with the exception of a woman and lifeguard who tried to save her – when a shark was spotted heading straight toward swimmers on Tuesday afternoon. The panic of the 10-foot shark and people screaming from the pier was caught on tape.
    A Florida beach cleared out – with the exception of a woman and lifeguard who tried to save her – when a shark was spotted heading straight toward swimmers on Tuesday afternoon. The panic of the 10-foot shark and people screaming from the pier was caught on tape.
  • Former Miss Savannah Breaks Silence about Killing Boyfriend

    Former Miss Savannah Breaks Silence about Killing Boyfriend

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:14 AM EDT2014-07-31 04:14:37 GMT
    Eleven years ago Savannah ignited worldwide attention when the city's beauty queen of just 4 months was charged with the murder of her boyfriend.
    Eleven years ago Savannah ignited worldwide attention when the city's beauty queen of just 4 months was charged with the murder of her boyfriend.
  • Want to Repel Mosquitoes? There's an App for That

    Want to Repel Mosquitoes? There's an App for That

    The latest buzz on mosquito season... it's here and it can be miserable. I seem to attract mosquitoes. Every time I step outside, I get bit. But there's a new high-tech weapon that could help, and it doesn't come in the form of a spray or clip. It's simply a free app on your smartphone.Anti-mosquito apps give off ultrasonic frequencies that are designed to scare the mosquitoes away. They do this by either mimicking the sounds of mosquito predators, such as dragonflies and bats, or by using th...
    The latest buzz on mosquito season... it's here and it can be miserable. I seem to attract mosquitoes. Every time I step outside, I get bit. But there's a new high-tech weapon that could help, and it doesn't come in the form of a spray or clip. It's simply a free app on your smartphone.Anti-mosquito apps give off ultrasonic frequencies that are designed to scare the mosquitoes away. They do this by either mimicking the sounds of mosquito predators, such as dragonflies and bats, or by using th...
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.