In September 2010, the first "no name" Solowheel prototype was presented to the public at the Bike Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Shane Chen was on the showroom floor until after midnight putting together his first electric stand-up unicycle with not much more than a soldering iron, a screwdriver and some super-glue. Shane’s dream of creating the simplest mode of transportation meant for everyone was born.
The move to America opened previously closed doors and allowed Mr. Shane Chen the opportunity to become an inventor.
Chen grew up in Beijing, China and attended Beijing Agricultural University for a degree in agricultural meteorology. A difficult environment for starting and growing businesses in the mid-1980's China was the driving force that led Chen to come to America in search of better opportunities. In 1990 he founded CID, Inc., a business dedicated to developing scientific instruments for agricultural research. Specific inventions in the field included a plant canopy analyzer and a water activity meter(for Decagon Devices).
In 2003 Chen founded Inventist, Inc., a company he started as an avenue with which he could develop more mainstream ideas and inventions. Entering the retail marketplace in '03, Chen introduced the AquaSkipper, a human-powered hydrofoil watercraft. Success with the AquaSkipper enabled Chen to develop other consumer products, most notably the Solowheel and Hovertrax.
In 2012, the first Solowheel patent was granted. Since then, three more patents have been issued in the United States and other countries.
To understand the physics behind the Solowheel, think about the last time you went ice skating. Your feet were relatively free to move over the slick surface of the ice. When you skate in a straight line on one foot, you can see your foot steer right and left to balance your body. This observation has been turned into a concept that has been transferred to the Solowheel to help you balance and steer with ease. How? With your feet low to the ground and your legs resting against the pads, your lower body acts as one unit, like skating on one skate.
The human foot has a small mass that is easier to rotate and manipulate independently of the body than the larger mass of the hip. Using your feet to steer and balance is much easier than using your hips which is what traditional unicycles draw on.
The Solowheel can claim a great many national and international awards.
Mr. Chen loves the combination of exercise and fun brought about by sports. In his spare time, he windsurfs, speed skates, swims and dives, skis and snowboards to name a few. These activities have all helped inspire his numerous inventions.
Just as sport represents human achievement, so he strives for his inventions to do the same. During the research and development phase of inventing, Mr. Chen experiments with a wide range of technology from the advanced all the way to the most basic mechanical concepts. His diverse life experiences combined with his drive to promote a more natural and healthy way of life help his current creations evolve and will no doubt inspire the ones yet to be thought of.
"Our mission is to develop sports-related products that are genuinely new, fun to use, and add an element of fitness at the same time," says Chen. The line of Solowheel products answers this calling.