In the high-stakes world of entrepreneurial innovation, the Smart Wheel, a potentially life-saving product developed by a group of ingenious teenagers known as the Inventioneers, made a memorable appearance on the acclaimed television show Shark Tank in February 2013. Seeking a $ 100,000 investment in exchange for a 15% stake in their company, the Inventioneers embarked on a pitch that aimed to address the pervasive issue of distracted driving, particularly among young drivers.
The Smart Wheel, designed to sound alarms and record driving habits, garnered both praise and skepticism from the Sharks, leading to a mix of offers and critiques. This introduction explores the aftermath of the Shark Tank appearance, delving into the twists and turns that followed the pitch, from the breakdown of negotiations with some Sharks to the eventual acceptance of an offer by a strategic duo.
As we unravel the post-Shark Tank journey of the Smart Wheel, we’ll uncover the challenges, decisions, and developments that shaped the fate of this innovative product and its young creators.
What Is Smart Wheel:
When the Smart Wheel identifies a risky hand position, it provides instant feedback by activating visual and auditory signals, urging the driver to place both hands back on the wheel.
This technology is aimed at reducing the rate of accidents caused by distracted driving, thereby improving road safety.
How Does It Work Exactly?
The Smart Wheel cover can be easily attached or removed from steering wheels of any size. The device activates lights and sounds and sends data directly to your smartphone. The Smart Wheel teaches drivers about proper steering wheel handling and refocuses them if they become distracted.
Additionally, it provides parents with a report of their child’s driving habits. The young inventors had only a prototype and needed financial support to produce the cover. Distracted driving is a common problem in many countries, leading to accidents and fatalities among drivers worldwide.
The Smart Wheel was conceived and developed by young entrepreneurs aged between twelve and eighteen.
The young creators aimed to make driving safer for teenage drivers who are more prone to distractions. The youngsters dreamt of having the Smart Wheel installed in every vehicle worldwide to prevent loss of life.
The Smart Wheel can be effortlessly affixed to any steering wheel and is designed ergonomically for the driver’s comfort.
Light sensors and sounds alert drivers to potential distractions, significantly reducing incidents of distracted driving. Parents or guardians will be alerted if a teenage driver is not paying attention while driving.
- Distracted Driving Prevention: The primary objective of the Smart Wheel is to prevent distracted driving. Using embedded sensors, the cover monitors the driver’s hand position, instantly detecting irregularities that may indicate distracted behavior. By providing real-time feedback through visual and audible alerts, the Smart Wheel actively encourages drivers to keep both hands on the wheel, thereby minimizing the risk of accidents caused by distractions;
- Real-Time Feedback: The device provides immediate alerts, allowing drivers to correct their actions promptly. This real-time feedback could be particularly useful for new drivers still developing their habits;
- Data Collection: The Smart Wheel collects data on driving habits, which can be accessed via a mobile app. This feature allows drivers to understand their behavior patterns and areas for improvement;
- User-Friendly Installation: The Smart Wheel cover’s design emphasizes ease of use, allowing it to effortlessly snap on and off any size steering wheel. This user-friendly installation ensures accessibility for a wide range of drivers, making it a practical and versatile solution for promoting safe driving habits across different vehicles;
- Data Transmission to Mobile Devices: The integration of technology doesn’t stop at the steering wheel. The Smart Wheel transmits data directly to the driver’s smartphone, providing a comprehensive overview of their driving behavior. This feature not only reinforces the real-time alerts but also allows users to track their progress in maintaining focused and safe driving practices over time;
- Educational Component: The Smart Wheel goes beyond simple alerts by actively teaching drivers proper hand placement on the wheel. Through its feedback mechanisms, the device serves as an educational tool, helping drivers develop and maintain good driving habits. This aspect sets it apart as a proactive solution aimed at creating lasting behavioral changes;
- Versatility and Adaptability: The Smart Wheel’s snap-on design ensures compatibility with various steering wheel sizes, making it adaptable for use across different types of vehicles. This versatility enhances its appeal, as drivers can easily transfer the Smart Wheel between cars, promoting a consistent approach to safe driving regardless of the vehicle they are operating ;
- Dependency on Technology: The Smart Wheel’s effectiveness hinges on its technological components. In scenarios where the device malfunctions or encounters technical issues, there may be a temporary lapse in its ability to provide real-time feedback. Drivers must be mindful of this dependency on technology and remain vigilant even when using the Smart Wheel;
- Limited Prevention: The Smart Wheel can alert drivers to risky behavior, but it can’t physically prevent these actions. Its effectiveness ultimately depends on the driver’s willingness to change their habits;
- Cost Consideration: As with many technologically advanced solutions, the Smart Wheel may come with a cost that could be a potential barrier for some users. The initial investment in the device might be a deterrent, particularly for budget-conscious consumers, even though it offers a unique and valuable contribution to road safety;
Who May Benefit From Using:
- New Drivers: New drivers or those learning to drive can gain from the real-time feedback provided by the Smart Wheel. It can help them develop safe driving habits from the beginning;
- Parents: Parents may find the Smart Wheel particularly useful if they have teenage drivers. The device’s ability to provide reports on hand positions and driving habits can help parents monitor and guide their children’s driving practices;
- Fleet Operators: Businesses that operate fleets of vehicles might benefit from the Smart Wheel. It can help ensure drivers follow safe practices, potentially reducing the risk of accidents and associated costs;
- Distracted Drivers: Individuals who struggle with distracted driving, such as those who often use their phones while driving, can benefit from the Smart Wheel. The device’s alerts can serve as a constant reminder to keep both hands on the wheel;
- Driver Education Programs: Driving schools and driver education programs can incorporate Smart Wheel into their training. It can serve as an effective teaching tool for demonstrating safe driving habits;
- Insurance Companies: Insurance companies might also find value in promoting devices like the Smart Wheel. By encouraging safer driving habits, it could potentially lead to fewer claims related to distracted driving accidents ;
About the Founders Of Smart Wheel
Initiating as a venture entered into the First Lego League Competition, where their innovation secured victory, the fate of potentially saving lives now rests on the Sharks’ investment decision in the Smart Wheel.
Pre-Shark Tank, SmartWheel emerged as a cutting-edge creation meticulously crafted by a compact consortium of trailblazing entrepreneurs united by a singular objective — enhancing the road safety of the younger demographic. The daily routine that most of us take for granted, driving, often slips under the radar as one of the riskiest activities we routinely undertake.
Driving stands as one of the most challenging endeavors, ranking as a leading cause of fatalities outside of health-related issues in Western societies, with young and inexperienced drivers occupying the most vulnerable demographic. Recognizing this issue, a cadre of youthful entrepreneurs from New Hampshire endeavored to create a sophisticated solution, one that would aid young drivers in maintaining focus on the road and their vehicles.
While the backdrop of their story aligns with the typical Shark Tank narrative, the extraordinary facet emerges when considering the age range of these budding entrepreneurs, all of whom were between twelve and eighteen when they conceptualized their groundbreaking product. Comprising Paige, Emily, Kate Balcom, TJ, Jaiden, and Breyton Evarts, collectively known as the Inventioneers, their journey sprang from a modest Lego building contest, evolving from innocence into a realm of serious contemplation regarding commercial applications.
To address the pervasive issue of young drivers losing focus while behind the wheel, the Inventioneers ingeniously conceived a prototype for a steering wheel. Patents were diligently filed for their brainchild, the Smart Wheel, yet the group faced the formidable challenge of securing substantial funding to propel the project into full-scale production and realize the product’s potential impact.
The Pitch Of Smart Wheel At Shark Tank
In February 2013, the Inventioneers presented their life-saving product, the Smart Wheel, to the Sharks with the aspiration of securing a $ 100,000 investment in exchange for a 15% stake in the SmartWheel company . The pitch commenced with TJ outlining the perils of distracted driving, citing the alarming statistic of eighteen teenagers succumbing to car accidents each day in the United States, with a primary cause being young drivers removing their hands from the steering wheel.
The SmartWheel, designed to sound an alarm when a driver deviates from the optimal hand positions, aimed to address this issue. Additionally, it could record driving habits, offering parents insights into their children’s activities behind the wheel. Although still in the prototype stage, the Inventioneers planned to allocate 75% of the potential $ 100,000 investment to finalize the manufacturing process.
When questioned about the sales strategy, TJ outlined a plan to initially sell the SmartWheel online, eventually branching into retail outlets. Concerning the cost per unit, the exact figure was uncertain, but an estimated $ 50 per unit in production was anticipated, with a retail price set around $ 200.
While the pitch seemed promising, Kevin O’Leary suggested a modification involving an electric shock as a deterrent instead of an alarm. Despite the inventive comment, the Inventioneers maintained composure. Mark Cuban inquired about testing, and Breyton shared that the product had undergone trials at MIT, with an impressive 98% believing it would enhance road safety.
TJ dropped a bombshell when revealing the Inventioneers’ visit to the White House, where they met President Obama. Daymond John, though interested, expressed his lack of expertise in electrical manufacturing and opted out of the deal.
Barbara Corcoran voiced concerns about the SmartWheel’s ease of removal and disapproved of its reporting feature, ultimately deciding to exit the negotiations. Kevin O’Leary acknowledged the achievements of the Inventioneers but delivered a harsh critique, suggesting they return with a more useful idea when older. With that, he also bowed out.
Robert Herjavec, defending the SmartWheel against Kevin O’Leary’s criticism, made an offer of $ 100,000 for a 30% stake, contingent on securing a licensing deal with a car company. Mark Cuban chimed in, proposing a shared deal with Robert for an equal split.
After negotiations, they settled on a joint offer of $ 100,000 for 30% equity with no added conditions. The Inventioneers swiftly accepted the deal, concluding the Shark Tank pitch .
Smart Wheel After The Shark Tank
Despite the commendable commitment, dedication, and formidable bargaining skills displayed by Robert, Mark Cuban, and the Inventioneers, the parties failed to reach a consensus on the final terms of their proposed deal. Despite the inspiration gained and the apparent satisfaction with the offer, the breakdown in further discussions became inevitable.
In the early months of 2014, the SmartWheel website underwent an update, revealing the company’s decision to forgo Shark funding. While no explicit explanation was provided, it became apparent that the SmartWheel firm was in dire need of financial support .
Following the announcement of the unsuccessful collaboration between the Sharks and SmartWheel, the company initiated a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. They aimed to secure $ 50,000 to complete the production process. Regrettably, the campaign fell short, managing to raise just over $ 2,000 by its conclusion.
Post-campaign, a fraction of the 39 backers expressed dissatisfaction with the business. Waiting for over a year for a SmartWheel and receiving no response to numerous inquiries left one backer feeling “ripped off”.
The absence of broad availability for a potentially useful and important product like the SmartWheel raised concerns. While the possibility of overcoming final manufacturing hurdles looms, until then, individuals must navigate the road without the assistance of young, astute inventors.
Notably, the teenagers behind SmartWheel had the privilege of presenting their ideas at the White House, endorsed by former US President Barack Obama .
Despite the absence of manufactured products, Smart Wheel maintains a presence on social media and its website, actively seeking partners for production and marketing. Driven by the belief that their device can prevent preventable accidents and deaths, Smart Wheel continues to strive for its mission.
The Net Worth Of Smart Wheel
However, it’s important to note that a company’s net worth can fluctuate over time due to various factors such as revenue, expenses, investments, market trends, and more. As of October 2023, the specific current net worth of Smart Wheel isn’t explicitly stated in the search results.
Alternatives To Smart Wheel:
- Autonomous Cars: One extreme alternative to the traditional steering wheel is autonomous cars. These vehicles are designed to navigate without human input by sensing their environment and moving safely with little or no human input. They are seen as a long-term solution to reduce road accidents caused by distracted or impaired driving;
- Joysticks: Single or dual joysticks can be used as an alternative to steering wheels. Some people find them more comfortable and easier to manage, especially for driving games. Joysticks can also be equipped with additional buttons for easy access to common functions;
- Gamepad Controllers: Gamepad controllers are another alternative for driving games. They offer a different level of control and can be more comfortable for long gaming sessions;
- Simulation Steering Wheels: There are cheaper simulation steering wheels available on the market, like the PXN V9. These products provide a similar experience to more expensive models but at a lower price point;
- Steering Wheel Upgrades: If a vehicle doesn’t come with a smart wheel, there are options for upgrading the existing steering wheel with additional controls. These upgrades allow drivers to add features like radio and cruise control buttons on the steering wheel;
- Alternative Wheel Cleaners: For those who are looking for alternatives to Smart Wheel’s cleaning products, there are other brands like Kkd Brake Away and Kkd Devils Juice that offer similar results;
- Who invented the Smart Wheel?
The Smart Wheel was invented by a group of young inventors from New Hampshire who formed a company called inventioneers. The original idea came from 14-year-old T.J. Evarts.
- What is the safe steering wheel on Shark Tank?
The safe steering wheel presented on Shark Tank is known as the Smart Wheel. It’s a device that fits over any standard steering wheel and uses sensor technology to encourage safe hand position and alert drivers when they engage in risky behaviors like texting or eating while driving.
- What does the Smart Wheel do?
The Smart Wheel monitors drivers’ hand positions on the wheel. If it detects unsafe hand placement or distracted driving behaviors, it provides immediate feedback through visual and audio alerts. It also generates reports so parents or fleet managers can track driving habits over time.
- Which car has the best steering?
Steering quality can be subjective and depends on personal preference. However, certain brands are often praised for their steering feel, such as BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz.
- How do cars turn?
When a driver turns the steering wheel, it rotates the steering shaft, which then moves the steering gear. This gear pushes and pulls the tie rods, causing the wheels to turn. The vehicle’s speed and the turning radius determine how much the wheels turn.
- Is car steering hard?
Car steering should not be hard under normal conditions, thanks to power steering systems. If steering becomes difficult, it could indicate a problem with the power steering system, such as a low-power steering fluid or a faulty power steering pump.
- Why is it called Shark Tank?
The show is called “Shark Tank” because the wealthy investors, or “sharks,” hear business pitches from entrepreneurs, who must try to navigate the “shark-infested waters” to secure an investment.
- What is the most famous Shark Tank invention?
Several products have gained significant success after appearing on Shark Tank, but one of the most famous is probably the Scrub Daddy. This versatile cleaning sponge has reportedly earned over $ 200 million in sales since its debut on the show.
- Did Shark Tank come first or Dragon’s Den?
Dragon’s Den came first. The show originated in Japan in 2001 and has since been adapted in many countries around the world. Shark Tank, which is the US version of the show, didn’t premiere until 2009.
- Does Shark Tank get paid?
Yes, the sharks on Shark Tank do get paid. In addition to the money they invest in the businesses presented on the show, the sharks receive a salary for their appearances. However, the exact amount they earn per episode is not publicly disclosed.
Useful Video: Meet SMARTwheel