Engineering for a cause: Undergrad students build scooter for child with cerebral palsy
Despite their full course loads, a team of Johns Hopkins mechanical engineering students found the time to take on a very special project this semester.
Caterina Esposito, Emily Maheras, Mariah Harris, Angela Groszos, Radha Deshmukh, and Willa Grinsfelder teamed up with V-LINC to design a new scooter for a 3-year-old living with cerebral palsy.
V-LINC is a nonprofit organization that improves quality of life for individuals with disabilities in Baltimore and the surrounding areas. The organization works with volunteer engineers to craft innovative assistive technology (AT) solutions and training to help people with disabilities of all ages thrive in home, school, community, and work settings.
The 3-year-old already had a standard wheelchair, but it wasn’t versatile enough for indoor use with his family. The team members were tasked with creating a solution to improve the child’s mobility.
After meeting with the child and his family, the group developed a combo scooter that can hold the child upright (with back support and pommel) and prevents him from falling backwards. The device also gives the child the option to either sit upright or lay on his belly. Now, the child has an indoor scooter that will allow him to keep up with his siblings.
The scooter is the latest in a string of projects that Hopkins engineers have completed to assist local children with disabilities. The student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) at Johns Hopkins has collaborated with V-LINC on several projects in the past two years, including a customized stroller for a 6-year-old and a customized walker for a toddler.