Autodesk, Inc. announced that Magic Wheels, Inc., a developer of multigear wheel systems for manual wheelchairs, has been named the Autodesk Inventor of the Month for August 2007.
The Inventor of the Month program (www.autodesk.com/inventorofthemonth) recognizes the most innovative design and engineering advancements made by the extensive community using Autodesk Inventor software. Magic Wheels’ selection as Inventor of the Month for August bears particular significance, as August is National Inventors Month in the United States to recognize invention and creativity.
Magic Wheels was co-founded in 1996 by Steve Meginniss, the successful inventor and product developer of the Sonicare toothbrush, the Clarisonic skin care system and the Quinton Quik-Prep electrodes used in stress testing. The company sought to improve the wheel systems for rear-push manual wheelchairs, which had essentially remained unchanged for 150 years. Traditionally these wheels provided only one gear, which made it difficult for wheelchair users to ascend and descend hills, or navigate rough and uneven surfaces.
To address these challenges, Magic Wheels developed the MAGICWHEELS two-gear wheelchair drive. This mechanical wheel system works much like a two-speed bicycle, providing the user with two easily shifted gears for extraordinary mobility enhancement to navigate ramps, hills and all types of varying terrain. Additionally, the availability of different gears lessens the incidence of repetitive stress injuries to the shoulders, arms and hands due to high driving loads.
Autodesk Inventor software was integral to the development of the MAGICWHEELS product, which evolved over a nine-year period. As the foundation for Digital Prototyping, Inventor allows manufacturers to simulate the real-world performance of a design before it is built.
“In the process of literally ‘reinventing the wheel,’ we had to explore a lot of different design ideas,” said Cisco Sabin, mechanical design engineer at Magic Wheels. “By creating digital prototypes in Inventor, we were able to fully explore and optimize our designs before producing expensive physical prototypes.”
“There has never been a more exciting time to be an inventor than now,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president of Autodesk Manufacturing Solutions. “Companies like Magic Wheels are using Digital Prototyping to refine the invention process, leveraging software that is as groundbreaking as their ideas. We are thrilled to name Magic Wheels as our Inventor of the Month for August. They are a true embodiment of the creativity and innovation that National Inventors Month represents.”