Students design a stroller adapted for a disabled father to walk with his son

A group of 10 high school students from Maryland, USA. Allowed a father with limited mobility to walk his newborn son for the first time!

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Three years ago, Jeremy King, 37, underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor that had caused him various physical problems, such as not being able to balance or standing for long periods.

When he and his wife, Chelsea, 32, found out that they were expecting a baby in June 2020, the two were concerned about how to take the baby for walks and other activities.

“While he can walk, he can’t safely hold a baby,” Chelsea King told Ob Worthy. So we thought of ways to make sure he could perform these activities safely. It was not an easy task since there are not many resources and tools available for parents with disabilities.”

Students build a special wheeled stroller for a disabled father to walk his infant son
Chelsea and Jeremy King. Photo: personal archive

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Chelsea turned to Matt Ziegler, a teacher at Police High School – a school where Jeremy also works as a theater teacher and counsellor – for help. I asked Matt if he could help them “find something that could attach to Jeremy’s wheelchair.”

At school, Matt teaches a special class for high school students called “Doing It for Social Good,” where students design products that have a positive social impact.

So, at the beginning of the school year, the teacher launched the challenge to develop a solution that would improve Jeremy’s quality of life and called on the students to do their best!

“The idea of ​​the course is to start with trying to understand the problem, so we interviewed the family,” Matt said. “We also spoke with someone at the local fire department who does child seat installation training to try to better understand how these tools work.”

For Ibinca Espinosa, 17, who has known Chelsea since the eighth grade, interview stages were some of her favorites because everyone was able to learn more about the King family on a personal level.

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“It was a good experience because we could ask questions,” Ibinka told People magazine. “I think understanding their context and daily life inspired us.”

Students build a special wheeled stroller for a disabled father to walk his infant son
Jeremy King secures a stroller seat before leaving with his son. Photo: personal archive

According to one of the students in the class, Jacob Zlotnitsky, 18, it all started with everyone in the class having their own ideas for creating their own wheelchair. Then they modeled their designs in a 3D program.

“We were all focused on succeeding in making the best product possible in the time we had,” Jacob said.

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They were able to “sifter” all the ideas and came up with two projects that complement each other, according to Matt.

Next, the class was divided into two groups: one that worked on the “WheeStroll,” a solution capable of integrating an infant car seat with a Jeremy wheelchair, and the other on the “Stoller Connector,” a device that could connect an entire stroller to a wheelchair.

“We wanted Jeremy to be able to walk and hang out with his son, whatever his age,” Jacob said.

Students build a special wheeled stroller for a disabled father to walk his infant son
Chelsea and Jeremy King with their son Phoenix. Photo: personal archive

Students used their school’s MakerSpace software to 3D print various pieces and purchased custom pieces online to build the attachments. They also took a wheelchair from a school nurse to use as a model for testing and reinforcements.

“At first, we were worried that the inventions wouldn’t be able to hold the baby,” said 15-year-old Evan Beach. “So we retested the elbow using small-sized blocks to see if it could hold a lot more weight than a child’s.”

Throughout the process, students frequently consult with the King family to ask questions and get their opinions. For Jeremy, the teens’ research and dedication meant a lot to him.

“It was definitely exciting to see the process and everything that happened,” he said. “I really feel the students took all of my concerns very seriously when creating the prototypes.”

Students build a special wheeled stroller for a disabled father to walk his infant son
Police School students Evan Beach, Benjamin Gordon and Joel Walker work on Jeremy King’s special stroller accessories. Photo: personal archive

The goal, in addition to helping the Kings, was to create an accessible design that could be replicated elsewhere around the world so that other families with disabilities could also benefit.

“With very cheap materials and tools, anyone can do it for anyone,” Professor Matt said, adding that instructions on how to create attachments are freely available online.

The students finished building both projects in early March – just in time for Chelsea’s birthday, which happened earlier that month. A few weeks after the birth of their son, Phoenix, she and her husband used the air-conditioned stroller to take the baby for a walk.

“The use of the invention was exceptional because I never thought I would be able to do something like that with our son,” Jeremy said. “Most people can go out for a walk with their family, but that’s too hard for me.”

Students build a special wheeled stroller for a disabled father to walk his infant son
Chelsea and Jeremy King with their son Phoenix on a walk. Photo: personal archive

While Chelsea initially thought the inventions were a personal favor on Matt’s part, she’s happy that the accessory has become something much bigger – and relevant to other people with disabilities.

“I love the idea that these students have had this project and it will still be something,” she said. “I know they will remember this for years to come, and that is all you can hope for as a teacher.”

Students build a special wheeled stroller for a disabled father to walk his infant son
Photo: personal archive

At the time he helped design the prototype, 15-year-old Evan fell in love with the subject matter and how it can make a difference in society.

“Now that I realize how inspiring the air-conditioned shopping cart is, I think I really enjoy engineering,” he told Up Worthy. “It’s amazing to be able to see how Jeremy really uses the device every day, and how that has helped him.”

Another engineering lover, Jacob, 18, said he sticks to everything he does, but designing something dedicated to changing someone else’s life makes the whole process more inspiring and relevant.

“I feel lucky to have taken a class that really allowed me to make a difference in someone’s life.”

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Source: UpWorthy

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