UMD Student Brings New Safety Accessory to the Skateboarding and Longboarding World
Posted by fidest on Thursday, 29 August 2013
For Chase Kaczmarek, nothing is more exhilarating than feeling the wind against his face as he races downhill on his longboard. On any given day you can see him boarding around UMD’s campus, effortlessly speeding from one destination to another.His passion for skating began back in middle school days. Looking for something new and exciting to do around the neighborhood, he and his friends decided to pick up boarding. From that point forward Chase and his longboard were inseparable.
Last summer, Chase was skating down a hill when, out of nowhere, a rabbit jumped out in front of him. In a split second, he swerved hard enough to avoid the rabbit but too hard. The bottom of his board grinded into the top of its wheels, bringing them to a halt and throwing Chase to the ground.Bruised and bleeding, Chase set out to find a way to prevent this occurrence, known to skaters as “wheel bite.” Astonished to find nothing on the market to help with the problem, Chase decided to take matters into his own hands.Looking to create a complete wheel bite elimination device, Chase set forth down the path of innovation. One year and 20 prototypes later, he has a patented, all-in-one boarding accessory ready for mass production called Wheel Shields.
The crescent-shaped tool attaches to the already existing bearings on any skateboard or longboard. By creating a physical barrier around each wheel, Wheel Shields effectively prevent any possibility of “wheel bite.” The aircraft aluminum accessory comes in set of four and adds less than one pound to any skateboard or longboard.Besides negating “wheel bite,” Wheel Shields provide a number of additional features. They keep you dry when riding through wet terrain, lengthen bearing life by protecting keeping the insides dry, evade any possibility of shoe bite (accidentally stepping on your wheels) and protect your wheels from locking with other riders when skating competitively. They also look cool and add an array of new trick possibilities.After a year of research and development, Chase launched his first crowdfunding campaign for Wheel Shields on August 5 through Kickstarter. The goal is to raise $25,000 by September 4 to purchase the die cast mold needed to mass produce the product.So far, Chase has raised over $18,000 toward his $25,000 goal on Kickstarter to make Wheel Shields a reality. With only six days to go, he is hopeful that his funding goal will be reached.
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Chase always knew he wanted to be a part of innovative ideas. Shield Boards LLC is the first company he plans to take off the ground, but not the only one.To find out more about Wheel Shields, or to help fund their campaign, please visit http://www.bit.ly/WheelShields.Wheel Shields won first-place and $8,000 winner in the 2013 University of Maryland Business Model Challenge, which is offered by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland.
The mission of Mtech is to educate the next generation of technology entrepreneurs, create successful technology ventures, and connect Maryland companies with university resources to help them succeed. Founded in 1983, Mtech has had a $29.4 billion impact on the Maryland economy and helped create or retain more than 7,800 jobs. Top-selling products such as MedImmune’s Synagis hich protects infants from a deadly respiratory disease, and Hughes Communications’ HughesNet®, which brings satellite-based, high-speed Internet access to the world, were developed through or enhanced by our programs. Billion dollar companies such as Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation graduated from our incubator. Mtech offers three experiential learning programs and 18 entrepreneurship and innovation courses, served to 1,003 enrollees in the academic year 2011-12, at the pre-college, undergraduate and graduate levels. For more information about Mtech, please visithttp://www.mtech.umd.edu.