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These High Schoolers Invented Something Ingenious for Wheelchairs That Could Win Them $100,000

"We'll be able to hopefully, hypothetically, help hundreds if not thousands of people."

Wahlert High School student Rachel Hefel speaks about the Feltes One Way. (Photo: KWWL-TV)

A group of high school students created a product for wheelchairs when they were in eighth grade, and now they might win $100,000 because of it.

KWWL-TV reports that eleven Wahlert High School students from Dubuque, Iowa developed a "universal anti-rollback device" for manual wheelchairs, which prevents the wheelchair from rolling backward on an incline.

They created the device for a school project, and one of the students, Rachel Hefel, explained they had to had to have a "senior partner, someone you could consult with." Their partner was someone special.

Wahlert High School student Rachel Hefel speaks about the Feltes One Way. (Photo: KWWL-TV) Wahlert High School student Rachel Hefel speaks about the Feltes One Way. (Photo: KWWL-TV)

"And [the person] could tell you, 'I have problems with this or that,' or whatever it might be," Hefel said. "And so we decided to go with my grandfather."

Hefel's grandfather was in a wheelchair, and he told the students he often struggled with hills. He helped them create the prototype for the device before passing away in 2012.

The students named their project the Feltes One Way after him, and have continued to perfect the device over the years. They are now semifinalists in the 2014-15 Lemelson-MIT InventTeams competition, and if they win, they will receive $100,000 to work on the invention.

Eleven Wahlert High School students helped create the Feltes One Way. (Photo: KWWL-TV) Eleven Wahlert High School students helped create the Feltes One Way. (Photo: KWWL-TV)

Hefel said they hope to be able to market the project someday.

"If we're able to go forward with it we'll be able to hopefully, hypothetically, help hundreds if not thousands of people," she said.

More on the story via KWWL-TV:

KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

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