A group of six kids from New Hampshire who go by the name of The Inventioneers, pitched their SMARTwheel prototype on Shark Tank. It’s a steering wheel that’s designed to help save lives, especially when there’s a teen behind the wheel. “Teens think they can multitask and drive safely,” says one of the Inventioneers, “but they’re faced with distractions like cell phones, makeup, eating, drinking, and fooling around with friends.” They also mention that every day 18 teenagers die in the US from car crashes. And the number one cause is distraction.
The SMARTwheel is steering wheel cover that is embedded with technology that alerts the driver of “unsafe hand positions,” i.e., no hands, one hand off, and two hands together (common while texting). The technology and companion mobile app records the behavior but as Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary pointed out, it doesn’t stop the teen from driving recklessly. Investors Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban are impressed with the kids and make a deal ($100k for 30 percent) so the teens can make a smarter prototype and get it to market. Since Shark Tank, the SMARTwheel got a makeover and has received lots of publicity but it is still not ready for mass production.