Seventy-five UWM students were recognized for their innovative ideas at this year’s Startup Challenge. Two notable winners are Silas Petrie and Joseph Pliner.
Petrie, a mechanical engineering major, drew inspiration for his helpful invention while riding his bike. After seeing the front wheels on many people’s bikes stolen, he came up with a better solution to safely lock a bike – Ever Lock. Petrie said that the Ever Lock is a “revolutionary bike lock” that will allow a person to lock the front and back of the bike, whereas a U-Lock fits around the framework.
“It saves people a lot of money when they don’t have to worry about those things getting stolen,” said Petrie.
Petrie’s invention includes a lock and key mechanism for protection. As of this moment, Ever Lock is not the official title. Petrie is still brainstorming.
Pliner, a biomechanics major, is an avid runner. His athletic side led him to his invention, the Smart Sole, by recognizing how many people don’t know when to replace their athletic shoes.
“[Athletes] kept getting injured because [their] shoe was no longer protecting their foot,” said Pliner. “[They] were wearing it past its life expectancy.”
The Smart Sole can indicate the correct time to swap shoes. Pliner sees this product benefiting athletes, physicians and everyday people.
“I’m hoping maybe one day, [Smart Sole] could be a standard for any kind of footwear to notify people when it is time to replace their shoes,” said Pliner.
The Startup Challenge allowed UWM students to get their ideas out to professionals in various fields. Those who are selected as winners receive opportunities to make their inventions a reality.
“There’s a lot of really cool people I get to work with,” said Petrie. “Especially the professors and the advisors of the Startup Challenge.”
“I was very excited to have the opportunity,” said Pliner.