#IRL: Robotics team designs epic wheelchair for 7-year-old with cerebral palsy


Real-life skills at work. Stateline Robotics (FRC 4655) is in the news for modifying a motorized toy car into a pretty amazing wheelchair for a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy, Jack Hughes (and during the FIRST Robotics Competition season, no less).

"I contacted them and it just took off from there," Jack's mother, Michelle Hughes, told Beloit Daily News. "They wanted to know what he needed, and they took that to heart and put their heart and soul into it. It's amazing to see how creative the team was. Usually these parts cost thousands of dollars in a regular wheelchair."

Stateline Robotics (Facebook | website) is based out of Hononegah High School in Rockton, Illinois.

More from Beloit Daily News:

The robotics team spent the last three months modifying the wheelchair for Jack, streamlining the controls and adding safety features - even installing a low-cost computer to let Michelle, dad Mike Hughes or sister Molly Hughes control the vehicle via a Playstation controller.
"The beauty of it is it's all off the shelf parts that were used," said Stateline Robotics Team Mentor Nick Johnson.
Michelle Hughes said Jack will slowly work with an occupational therapist in gaining further control of his new wheelchair. The mobility also may help his social skills, she said.
"We want him to play with his peers," Michelle Hughes said. "Play is something that's very important to kids his age and it's something that he hasn't really had the freedom to do. Now he can be away from us while we watch over him."
The robotics team is taking it a step further. Not only did they design Jack's wheelchair, they are in the process of making the designs open-source and available for other high school robotics teams across the country to help kids in their communities.
"It's vital because it's a great learning opportunity for the kids to realize what they can do to help people," Nick Johnson said.


So, today's "FIRST #IRL" nod goes to Stateline Robotics. Thanks for the inspiration, FRC 4655!

Find more news stories and pictures on the team's Facebook page.



#IRL ("In Real Life")

"In Real Life" is a digital campaign showcasing parallels between the skills, experiences, and values of FIRST youth and working professionals.