Local inventor rides on 'Angel Wings'

George Angelo of DuBois thought bicycling was a real pain. Though he enjoyed cycling, his bike seat was the source of major discomfort during and after his rides.

"I would be sore after a ride, just like a lot of other people," Angelo said. While talking to friends and fellow riders, he realized just how many other people had the same complaints. A large number of cyclists he spoke with had already spent hundreds of dollars on bicycle seats, some of which were still not comfortable. Angelo saw that a completely new and innovative redesign of the conventional bicycle seat was something someone had to tackle. He decided that someone was him.

"I went into the garage and started working on different ideas and came up with a concept," he remembered. "I wanted to get rid of the seat horn that goes between the legs, like some of the models available; but it needed to move with the rider's anatomy."

What Angelo came up with is what he calls the Angel Wings Bicycle Seat. He did, in fact, get rid of the seat horn. Actually, a full 2 ½ inch gap runs between two pads, leaving the center open for full ventilation. The rider sits with the pads under the gluteus maximus, with pressure distributed evenly and over a wider area than the conventional saddle. But, that's not all. The seat pads also move as the rider pedals. As the legs move up and down, so do the seat pads. Angelo said this allows the torso to remain strait, rather than twisting during pedaling, allowing for more natural movement. "A lot of two pad seats are out there," he said. "But they don't move properly, and you're fighting nature. Your torso should be still while your legs move. It lets your body move the way it should, and the end result is no pain and more comfort."

Riders who tried Angelo's seat said it was comfortable. However, even with positive feedback and endorsements, he could not find a way to successfully market his idea. He secured a patent on the Angel Wings seat in 2003, but his work stalled after that.

"I called cycling companies and physical therapists who focus on bicycling, but nothing worked out," Angelo said. "I got tired. Trying to raise a family, have a job and market this idea was difficult."

Then, Angelo ran a Google search for "innovation in DuBois." The results led him to Penn State DuBois Technology Transfer Coordinator Sally Moran, who specializes in helping business and individuals find the resources they need to be successful.

"Now Sally is helping me get in touch with the right people," Angelo said.

Moran helped Angelo gain exposure for his invention that led to his recognition on the Planet Eureka Top 100 Innovations List. Planet Eureka, an international marketplace that helps inventors connect with companies, picked this innovation as one of the top five inventions in its category.

"As a result of this recognition, George's product will stand out even more in the innovation marketplace, and hopefully catch the eye of potential partners to help with manufacturing, research and development, and sales," Moran said.

Moran also has connected Angelo with other people at Penn State who might be interested in his seat. Plans are now under way to test prototypes of the seat on exercise bikes in university fitness labs. Riders who use the bikes outfitted with the Angel Wings seats would then be surveyed about their experience using it. Angelo said the seat also may have some uses in the realm of physical therapy, and tests at Penn State could help to define those uses.

Angelo said he's excited to move forward on his project, and thankful for the resources of Penn State DuBois Technology Transfer that made it possible. "I had a patent for so long and could make nothing happen with this. Now I'm working with Penn State and things are happening," he said.

 

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Last Updated November 18, 2010