For children born with a physical disability, running with friends and walking to school can come with a degree of difficulty. However, there are devices, such as adaptive bicycles, that help them enjoy the fun of cycling while simultaneously strengthening their bodies and extending their range of motion.
After seniors in Butler Tech’s Engineering Design and Development program at Lakota East High School met a local boy diagnosed with a physical disability, they wanted to make his wish of owning an adaptive bicycle come true.
“It was an eye-opening and emotional experience to see a child struggle with something we do every day. Really makes you realize how much we take for granted,” says Nick Delaet, Butler Tech EDD senior.
Seniors spent time with the boy and his parents gathering valuable information to help develop their designs. They started with his measurements to establish a basic foundation for the bike, and while doing so, saw his upbeat personality and smiling face never faded. Afterwards, they sat with his parents to discuss what further modifications the bike required so it could best fit the unique needs of their child’s disability.
“The need is out there to build adaptive designs. They can help so many people like the child we’re helping.” says Adam Cheney, EDD senior and designer on the project.
Their plans include an improved breaking mechanism to break easier, extra wheels for balance, trunk and lumbar support for better posture, and a high gear ratio for ease in pedaling. Student’s will also incorporate the boy’s love for monster trucks and his favorite color in to their model.
“These kids are strong and motivated. Every day they come in here and show me they know what to do and even find ways to complete certain designs better than their curriculum outlines.” says Kenneth Kinch, Butler Tech Engineering Design and Development instructor.
Seniors working on the project include: Nick Meyer; Nick Bacher; Nick Delaet; Adam Cheney; John Neptune; Jaspreet Singh; and Phillip Niewald. They plan to donate the bicycle in Spring 2018.