Magic Wheels, Inc. (TM) was co-founded in 1996 by Steve Meginniss, a successful inventor and product developer (sonicare® Toothbrush, Clarisonic(TM) skin care, Quinton Quik-Prep®). Other founders include a physiatrist with experience in two multi-speed manual wheelchair projects, a major local wheelchair dealer, a leading model maker and a CPA. The University of Washington also owns stock purchased as part of a patent licensing agreement.

Wheels for manual wheelchairs are essentially unchanged since invented over 150 years ago. Traditional non-geared wheels have limited ability in varying terrain (hill climbing, hill descending, rough / uneven surfaces) and high driving loads can cause repetitive stress injuries to the shoulders, arms and hands. These problems are amplified for patients with limited upper body capability.   The US Ed. Dept. - National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and others have identified "innovative geared hubs for manual wheelchairs" as a major need. However, over 1 million users of special grade wheelchairs in the USA and their counterparts world-wide are still waiting for a solution.

Magic Wheels, Inc. successfully started development of the 2-speed manual wheelchair product with a $100K Phase I SBIR grant from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH.  A follow-on $750K Phase II and a $900K Phase II Continuation grants were awarded to the company to complete this development.  The company has also been awarded RTD Phase I & II grants totaling over $100K by the Washington Technology Center to support wheel strength and endurance testing at the University of Washington Materials Science Lab.  Federal, State and private funding to date totals over $2.9 million. Click here to View the WTC sponsored Magic Wheels / University of Washington project Poster.

The MAGICWHEELS™ product was designed from the ground up expressly to meet the needs of long term wheelchair users. This unique patented design not only meets almost all the design criteria identified by the NIDRR, but also includes two important additional features - automatic hill holding (with override) and down hill assisted braking.

To meet the exact needs of those using manual wheelchairs, Meginniss and his engineers initiated a Test Pilot Program consisting of Seattle area wheelchair users.   These Test Pilots have Magic Wheels on their daily chairs and use them in their every day activities.   This program has giving extremely helpful feedback and recommendations on how to make the wheels lighter, easier to install and better looking.   For example, the hill holding was shown as a way to limit the strain on shoulders when climbing so was incorporated as a feature into the wheels.   It was also recommended to develop a Double Handrim option which when put on Magic Wheels gives the user a true 4 speed wheelchair wheel.   This Double Handrim has become so popular it is the standard option on all new Magic Wheels.

Over the last 9 years MAGICWHEELS™ have gone through many changes and facelifts to develop the most usable and durable wheels possible.   Below are pictures of the 4 Generations of Magic Wheels which led to the product which is available today.

U.S. Patent 6,805,371; others pending.