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Student partners score patent with novel headband
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Kayla Wheeler is wrapping up her fourth year in a five-year engineering program at the Rochester Institute of Technology in style — with her first patent.
Wheeler, from Clifton Park near Albany, and her business partner, Patrick Streeter of Cortland, filed the patent to protect their idea for a new type of sports headband. It’s padded to prevent concussions in non-helmeted sports such as soccer.
They came up with the idea after Streeter was told he wouldn’t be allowed to play soccer without a helmet because he had suffered so many concussions playing various sports.
The partners are hoping to license the foam and plastic composite they developed to sports equipment companies for use not only as headbands but as shin guards, knee pads and sports caps for water polo.
“We have no idea what type of license deal we would make,” said Wheeler, 21. “It’s kind of been a part-time thing for us because we are both in school. But we have other ideas that we are trying to create with the padding. It depends on the feedback we get from the companies we’ve been contacting.”
Wheeler is majoring in biomedical engineering.
Streeter graduated from RIT in 2013 and is attending graduate school for sports engineering at the University of Sheffield in England.