PITTSBURG, Kans. — Some Mechanical Engineering students at Pittsburg State have spent the past year working on a toy car for children with movement disabilities. On Friday, the Pittsburg community got its first look at the prototype.
“These kids kind of need something kid-ish, toy-ish to kind of excite their mind. Which this is something that would take two or three years to refine, so we’re on a short deadline.” Christian Schultz, PSU Mechanical Engineering Senior.
On Friday students from across the Mechanical Engineering Department at Pittsburg State University presented their senior projects to the Industrial Advisory Committee. Five of those students were approached by the non-profit “Geeks For Kids.”
“They build mobility vehicles for children with movement disabilities. They originally had been using an off- the-shelf vehicle, but there’s a possible discontinuation, so they tasked us, Pitt State undergrad team to design a chassis and power train for them,” said Shultz. “We kind of based our design off a small lunar rover but we adapted it to hopefully fit a kid.
Over the past year, schultz and his team have created this toy car prototype.
The new design hopes to help the non-profit cut down the costs many families face.
“Wheelchairs that you buy off the shelf are extremely expensive, probably starting at a base cost of $3,000 going up to anywhere towards 10,000 to $20,000, so there’s a lot of kids out there who are living in hospitals or living in homes with movement disabilities, who their parents can’t afford a wheelchair,” he added.
The team’s work isn’t done. They will present the prototype at a Geeks For Kids event in Kansas City in the beginning of June.
“They’ll refine our design, switch some materials. They’re looking at taking our design and they’re going to send it to a weld shop and a few other places and see how easy they can fabricate it. They actually are planning on donating this to a kid,” said Shultz “They need that to learn their environment and grow in their environment.”