A group of teenage entrepreneurs from Virginia have created a prototype for a device that will be life-enhancing for wheelchair users.
Stephen Campbell is one of the inventors who sparked the idea for a backup notification system for wheelchairs after watching his grandmother’s struggle. Campbell says that he noticed that many wheelchair users, including his own grandmother, struggled with backing up. Many times they would back into something which can cause embarrassment for the user along with damage to their surroundings.
Therefore, Campbell decided to look into backup notification systems for wheelchairs and discovered there weren’t any. Instead of waiting for someone to design such a product, Campbell decided to work together with some friends and come up with a working design himself.
Brad Aronson reports that Stephen Campbell along with four other teens, were able to create a working prototype for the wheelchair backup notification system that not only works, but is reasonably priced. Stephen and his business partners (Miranda Keeler, Aaron Seidman, Deepak Iyer and Kate Evanko) have created a device that makes the wheelchair’s arms vibrate when the chair is in reverse and about to hit something. The vibration is used to notify the user about the potential collision.
With a prototype in working order, the teens are now testing the product in a hospital in Virginia. They are happy with the results so far and say that they plan to put the product on the market as soon as testing is complete.
Aaron Seidman, one of the business partners, says that the product should only cost about $11-12 per unit to manufacture. This means the teens will be able to sell the product for a reasonable price and ensure that anyone who would benefit from the product will be able to make the purchase.
The teens realize that even a reasonably priced product may be out of the financial reach of some. Therefore, the partners are hoping to be able to give the product away fro free to those in need. The group’s plan is to give away one unit to someone in financial need with every purchase. As if that wasn’t enough, the teens are also giving away the products operational codes through open source for free.
This will allow any company or individual to use the code in their wheelchair design or production.
What do you think of the teenage entrepreneurs’ idea? What do you think about them giving away their creation for free?
[Image Credit: Brad Aronson]