CHAMPAIGN – Fresh from winning the $30,000 Lemelson-Illinois Student Prize, Scott Daigle is eager to get an array of products for wheelchair users onto the market.
Daigle was awarded the prize Wednesday, largely for his plan to equip wheelchairs with automatic gear shifting to make their operation less burdensome for users.
But his company, IntelliWheels Inc., is also working on other products like Caster-Skis that allow a wheelchair's small front wheels to slide across the snow. Otherwise, those wheels might dig in, bringing the chair to a sudden halt and throwing the user.
He's also working on all-weather tire covers for wheelchairs, spare tire kits for wheelchair users and a lightweight "onboard" tool kit for repairs.
"We want to be the innovation house for wheelchair technology," said Daigle, whose company is housed in EnterpriseWorks, the University of Illinois incubator for start-up firms.