Engineering Students Make Cars for Kids with Limited Mobility

Interesting Engineering

One event wanted children with limited mobility to feel like their able-bodied counterparts. The school of Engineering at Mercer University in Atlanta hosted a Go Baby Go event on December 3. Honors students built and modified toy cars for children with limited mobility.

Georgia's Mercer University, one of the US's oldest and most distinctive institutions, works to shape a better world. This time around, the university partnered up with Go Baby Go to build cars for children from 10 families.

Forty students of Mercer's engineering honors program took part in modifying the cars to meet the needs of each child ages 3, 4 and 5.

Go Baby Go is a community-base research design and outreach program. It started in 2012 at the University of Delaware by Cole Galloway, a physical therapy professor and infant behavior expert. The program helps provide movement, mobility and socialization to children with disabilities by integrating assistive technology, families, clinicians and industry partners. Go Baby Go programs are conducted in 40 locations both in the U.S. and abroad.

Engineering Students Make Cars for Kids with Limited Mobility[Image Source: YouTube]

Sybil Keesbury, Mercer professor and coordinator of the Holistic Child program inTift College of Education, said:

"The whole purpose of Go Baby Go is to promote social skills for children with disabilities.We know that children who have limited mobility have a harder time interacting with their peers.”

Thus the toy cars will help children explore the world and develop socially, according to engineering professor Phil McCreanor.

McCreanor also said: “The nature of Go Baby Go is a great fit for the School of Engineering, which has a history of client-based engineering design projects that serve community needs.

Engineering Students Make Cars for Kids with Limited Mobility[Image Source: YouTube]

"Conducting these builds across the various academic levels of the Engineering Scholars Track will provide an opportunity to show the freshman- and sophomore-level Engineering Scholars how engineers can use their skills to serve their community and also provide the senior Engineering Scholars with leadership opportunities as well as a connection back to the beginning of their engineering studies.”

The engineering students implemented the changes the day before the event. This way, the children could test out the cars as soon as they arrived at the event.

Students reworked the cars in order for the children to drive them without using their legs. That's crucial for kids with severe motor delays.

Engineering Students Make Cars for Kids with Limited Mobility [Image Source: YouTube]

Keesbury said he has never seen kids with such big smiles. He said, “It’s such an incredible gift that we can offer the community, and we can enhance kids with disabilities with rides. It was such an amazing day and an amazing event that I was glad to be a part of.”

The event received funding from the University’s Research that Reaches Out Quality Enhancement Plan. Funding also came from Warner Robins Post of the Society of American Military Engineers. The cost of each modified car was roughly $350.

The Go Baby Go event was the school's first and it plans to host one every spring and fall semester. McCreanor hopes that, in the future, they will do more significant vehicle customization involving Mercer’s STEM teaching education master’s program.

SEE ALSO: Cardboard Helmet Wins Major Design Award

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