A child’s smile is priceless, and being the one to put it on their face just means that much more, especially when life hasn’t been the easiest. This project puts a smile on disabled children’s faces, their families, and those in the community.
Students part of the IEEE HKN Epsilon Xi Chapter at Wichita University have decided to expand the GoBabyGo program, which makes adaptable cars for children who are disabled. This Go-Baby-Go project uses students’ engineering skills to take rideable cars and tailor them to fit the needs of children with conditions such as dwarfism. cerebral palsy, etc.
This project will include six phases, starting with direct communication with therapists from their nonprofit, Rainbows United Inc., to connect with a child and their families. This phase will allow the team to learn about the child they are building the car system for, and to ensure it is possible. The second phase is for the design of the car, and collaboration with the child’s therapists and families to ensure it is acceptable. The student team will handle purchasing the toy car and all necessary materials, as they want the family to not worry about that. Some examples of features that the team will be working with is the removal of the steering wheel and adding a joystick, parental control over the wheel, a wireless RF control system for total control, and more.
After the car is designed, in phases three and four the team pans to make note of all functions, additions, and removals that the car endured and also test the car to ensure it is safe. Phases five and six will be the final steps where the car is delivered to the child for final testing and introduction to the car. The therapist will continue to monitor the child and inform the team if anything else is needed and the student team will provide the necessary technical support.
This project is part of a greater good, and spreads happiness to the community, especially to the child and their family. This project was granted $10,000 and they hope they will make an impact on children and show that anything is possible. The team plans to use open-source software, so that the source code can be accessible to people all over the world, and that hopefully, it can be of use to countless more kids.
So far the team has been able to modify a toy Jeep for Aaron, a child diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. This car has allowed Aaron to move independently, which allows him to keep up with his family and friends. Not only is Aaron a happy boy, but so are his parents as they are able to see him move around with a smile on his face.