Alumni turn passion into product
Engineering graduates, Scott Matthews and Chris Szczur, see their college idea become a reality
Nicole Kuhn | Assistant News Editor | The USD Vista
Dyno Equipment, a product created by alumni Scott Matthews and Chris Szczur, is the first product to ever come out of Donald’s Garage.
Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering Donald’s Garage is a $4.5 million facility offered to engineering students. The facility gives students a space with the tools necessary to develop inventions and prototypes. The garage supplies students with top-of-the-line products, from machines to wood labs. Students can use to weld and shape different types of metals and plastics.
Szczur explained that Donald’s Garage was a major contribution in developing Dyno.
“USD has provided everything, from legal support with incorporating, prototyping and design-advising help through Donald’s Garage and the machine shop, to advisors who have tons of industry experience in launching products,” said Szczur.
Matthews stated that the skills he learned from USD are invaluable, as are the resources given to him as a student to make the product become reality.
“From advice from professors to using labs whenever we wanted to being able to take classes in engineering and entrepreneurship,” Matthews said. “USD gave us every outlet we needed to successfully create a product and a business.”
The two alumni started working on the project during their junior year at USD. Three years later, they have created the first slider system, a camera-operation device that is specifically designed for small cameras, such as a GoPro, and are easily operated by a smartphone device.
They named the product Dyno because of a term used among climbers for jumping from hold to hold, which correlates to how their product moves the camera with one swift motion. Matthews, the design expert, stated that Dyno relates to the way the product operates similarly to the dynamic motion of the climbing.
As the product developer, Szczur explained that they first started developing the product through an idea inspired while scrolling through Instagram.
“Scott and I were sitting in class one day watching time-lapse videos where the camera was moving in the frame and we thought, ‘How did they do that?’” Szczur said. “So we googled it and found that people used a device called a motorized camera slider. The only ones that existed were $1000+ and designed for DSLR and cinema-style cameras, so we decided to make an affordable version we could use with our smartphones and GoPros.”
Szczur also adds that USD has been a major contributor in developing the product.
“The process has been crazy, but really rewarding,” Szczur said. “We are lucky to have a state-of-the-art machine shop at USD which has given us free access to all the tools and equipment we needed to prototype a product and take it to production. There are lots of ups and downs, sometimes things don’t work as expected, and sometimes things work better than expected, but in the end it’s an awesome experience to see an idea through, from concept to product.”
From students to business owners, Matthews explained the moral responsibility they have taken on in creating their business, which is to give back and run Dyno ethically.
“We are very aware of the impact we have on the places we love to enjoy,” Matthews said. “Chris and I have always felt that we have a responsibility to do what we can to limit our impact on these places and stay in line with our morals and core values. Now being business owners, we also see the moral responsibility with running Dyno ethically and reflecting our morals in the work we do and the products we create.”
Matthews stated that they will continue to give back because of their passion for the outdoors and the environment.
Just five months since graduation, Matthews and Szczur have watched their idea from a classroom turn into reality and a passion. Going forward, the two expect to grow their business and continue to make products geared toward cinematic-style video for small cameras. The two graduates are currently focused on finishing their campaign, which ends on Nov. 17. Customers should expect their shipment of the Dyno product soon.