High school students invent stroller attachment for wheelchair for teacher's husband
[July 10, 2021: Natalie Dreier]
As the proverb goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” That saying holds true for a group of high school students from Maryland.
Students at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, designed a gadget that will allow people in wheelchairs to be able to push a baby stroller.
It’s called the WheeStroll, and the idea came to them thanks to a middle school teacher at the Bullis School.
Chelsie King’s husband Jeremy underwent brain surgery a few years ago. Since then, he has had many physical challenges that require him to use a wheelchair.
One thing Jeremy King was determined to do was to do as much for his child as he could, especially being able to take a walk with the couple’s son.
Chelsie King spoke with the head of the school’s Innovation and Technology Lab, Matt Zigler. Zigler challenges his students to make items to help people in his class, Making for Social Good.
Bullis School said, “In this course students will make a valuable, positive, and concrete contribution to a community by utilizing the design thinking process and making skills. Students will develop and implement empathy, a key element of the design thinking process, to address a need within a community (local, regional, or global) rather than a personal need or desire. Students will use the tools of the BITlab to make a product or service that can positively affect the lives of others, will understand the impact they can have on the world, and learn the skills necessary to act upon that knowledge.”
Zigler gave the task to his class, who spoke with the Kings to find out what they needed.
Over several weeks, they came up with designs. Two groups were on to something and when they combined their ideas, they had the first step to the WheeStroll.
With a little finessing, they created wheelchair devices that attach to Jeremy King’s chair. The device then holds a car seat that the baby can be strapped into.
The device not only gave the Kings a chance to go on outings easily, it also gave the students some international recognition, as the WheeStroll was entered into the 2021 Make:able challenge hosted by PrintLab and Autodesk, among others. The competition had teams “design and make a product or prototype that improves the day-to-day life of someone who struggles with mobility in their hands,” the school said.
You can see the submissions here.
The Bullis students won not only the “Best Inspirational Story” but also the “Best Showcase of Iterative Design” for the 14-18 age group.
They won an EinScan-SE 3D scanner by taking top honors for their inspirational story and a Filamentive Education Filament Bundle for their iterative design, Make:able said in its winners’ announcement.
But while they are being recognized for their accomplishments, one of the Bullis students said that having to design adaptive items upsets them, but not in a way many may think.
“It definitely made me feel for them and it kind of made me mad, because something like this should be made already and we shouldn’t be the one(s) — high schoolers — making these designs,” Jewel Walker, a freshman at Bullis School said.
For more technology stories check out our Innovations section at The Brighter Side of News.
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