Don’t Reinvent the Wheel? Why Not?

Many of us grew up on the edict: “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” We were led to believe that if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.

This is just not Steve Meginniss’ style.

First he helped reinvent the toothbrush – engineering the critical mechanical portions of the sonicare® sonic toothbrush which became one of the most successful dental care innovations ever invented. Then he tackled the luxury skin care market – helping invent the Clairsonic® – a sonic-wave powered brush that gives people a cleaner, healthier-looking face. It’s been such a hit that Oprah even heralded it as one of her “favorite things.”

In the midst of undertaking these major achievements, Steve searched for a meaningful issue to focus on. At the University of Washington, he found four projects aimed at helping handicapped folks.  During a career in which he pursued 22 patents and nearly 60 projects, he finally “reinvented the wheel.” Can world peace be far behind? If only it were a mechanical issue.

Steve’s invention, MagicWheels®, when retrofitted onto a manual wheelchair, improves mobility and also eases stress on shoulders. This helps some folks maintain their independence. These wheels provide freedom.

Countless people have benefited from Steve’s creation. Erica Davis went to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in her wheelchair with MagicWheels.  Addie Killam showed a group of children how to climb ropes in hers.

Equally impressive are the countless ways that MagicWheels enhance everyday living. Someone who could not previously maneuver a wheelchair up and down the ramps to a  van, around barriers in the house or the office can now do so with the two-geared MagicWheels. People whose shoulders were not strong enough to propel the chair on uneven terrain using standard wheels are now able to go places independently, often with a significant reduction in pain.

Steve Meginniss probably didn’t imagine that his inventive mind would help create freedom. Earlier in his career, it was likely evident to him that people would have cleaner teeth and healthier skin when using the products he helped invent.  When he engineered MagicWheels, he knew he would be helping people navigate and climb and maneuver. He even realized that his wheels would provide health benefits including a reduction in shoulder pain and arm stress.

But the real difference Steve has made in peoples’ lives is perhaps more significant than these physical and mechanical enhancements. Individuals using his reinvented wheels are more independent. They have the potential to live longer, healthier lives. Because Steve refused to listen to experts who told him “What you are proposing can’t be done” – he created a solution that has enabled others to break preconceived barriers. Because of Steve, countless people have gained a freedom they never imagined possible.

32 Responses to “Don’t Reinvent the Wheel? Why Not?”

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