The new wheel
By Geraldine Roper,
The best invention ever just keeps getting better
It’s often said there’s no point reinventing the wheel. Tom Jackman would disagree.The Palmerston North inventor has developed a new wheel technology that enables a vehicle to be steered from the front or the back, and to change directions so efficiently that the three-point-turn could soon be a redundant term. The moving manoeuvrability is currently being applied to children’s ride-on toys, the Evo-Rider and Evo-Drifter, but Jackman sees much more serious applications ahead.
The ability to steer from the back, for example, would be invaluable in hospital wards where beds have to be pushed around in very limited spaces.
Then there’s the possibility of modifying the Evo-Rider, a combination of a bicycle, tricycle and skateboard, into a cart. “This would be great for disabled kiddies who usually wouldn’t be able to play with other children,” Jackman says. “We’ve had letters from parents of disabled children saying they would love to buy one but we don’t have the time, the facilities or the money to make them yet.”
Ah, money. Jackman is searching for a way for his company, Flexibility Concepts, to commercialise the invention. Jackman says he was asked to take his business to China but he’s determined to keep the invention in New Zealand. “We also have multimillion-dollar mobility companies in America interested in what our technology could achieve. But, again, we need someone to provide the capital to make and market the models.”
Portfolio reinvention, anyone?