When someone claiming to be from Google calls, most people go on guard. Google just doesn’t call people. So, it’s no surprise that Ka Shun “Sean” Chan was skeptical, even though he had already gotten a call from James Cameron’s production team (Yes, that James Cameron) about his invention.
Chan, who graduated from Manatee Community College, now State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF), in 2009 and has spent the last few years inventing and building a gyro-stabilized electric unicycle dubbed the Uno Bolt, is now rubbing virtual elbows with A-listers and Silicon Valley executives. A prototype of his electric unicycle will be seen on the big screen this year when James Cameron’s futuristic film, “Alita: Battle Angel,” is released. Cameron’s production team bought all the original prototypes, even though Chan warned them they weren’t perfected. But they were perfect for the film which contains a heavy dose of computer-generated images (CGI).
Chan’s still waiting to hear when the Discovery Channel will feature his invention. Producers recently visited Venice to film Chan putting his invention through its paces and then pushing it to its limits. The testing and filming were designed to see how well his invention works and whether it can be improved. They learned that the computer chip isn’t as responsive as it could be when pushed to its limits.
Now Google, which is diving deep into competition on the smart technology front, may be interested in collaborating on the latest version of his invention. “Everything is happening faster than I expected,” Chan said.
When Chan started school at SCF his parents were urging him to become a doctor or a lawyer, he said. Chan wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, but was able to explore his options at SCF.
Chan said his time at SCF gave him a solid start to his life’s ambitions. “I definitely loved the experience,” he said. “The smaller classes allowed me to have better communication with the teachers. There was more one-on-one and I really liked that.”
He said attending classes at SCF also helped him financially, allowing him to live at home while starting college. “It was great that I started there,” he added. “Going straight into a university, I think I would have had a tough time.”
By the time he got his Associate in Arts degree in 2009, Chan had decided he wanted to go into environmental engineering. He transferred to the University of South Florida and ended up in information technology.
“I’m a modern-day hippie,” Chan said. “I love being outdoors, but I do love computers.”
Pairing the two led to his invention which is based on a vehicle in Dragon Ball anime. It runs on a rechargeable battery, has one fat tire and is gyro-stabilized for easy maneuvering. “It’s eco-friendly in that it leaves a small carbon footprint, it’s revolutionary, and it’s made for the outdoors,” he said.
Chan, who was born in Hong Kong and moved to the United States when he was 3-years-old, has a family friend and partner in China where the Uno Bolts are produced using the same type of gyro-stabilizing technology that the Segway uses. The pair are developing the latest versions of the Uno Bolt, which are smaller, weigh less and are less expensive. He’s hoping they will sell on college campuses where parking is a premium and in big cities where they could get through the traffic faster.
While he is perfecting his invention, Chan is also running LED Impressions and Computer Solutions, a business he started in Venice, where he works with his father making LED signs.
To see Sean Chan in action, visit youtube.com/watch?v=5ATCX_C1Qfc. For more information on SCF, visit SCF.edu.