POTSDAM — A local child will be riding in style from now on, thanks to a capstone project developed by one of Clarkson University’s occupational therapy students.
Beth Ann Davies, from Zionsville, Penn., said she wanted to use her capstone project to make a positive impact on the life of someone in the local community. The result is a retrofitted ride-on toy car that a local child with disabilities can use to get around and be at play.
Davies said she got the inspiration for the project from Go-Baby-Go, a program that provides modified, ride-on cars to children with disabilities so they can move around independently. The modified toy cars give children with mobility disabilities a chance to play and socialize with their peers more easily.
Knowing she would need help when it came to the construction of the vehicle, Davies identified students in Clarkson’s own physical therapy and engineering departments to help her with her creation. Physical Therapy students Emily Massey and Alexander Bondarenko and Engineering student Victoria Keating all assisted with the customized vehicle.
“To start the process of the Jeep, measurements of the child were taken with the child sitting in the jeep in order for us to have a baseline. From there, I met with Emily Massey and Alexander Bondarenko to figure out what measurements we needed for building the seat, which was made out of cardboard,” Davies explained. “To ensure the seat would hold the weight of a child we used cardboard construction videos as a guide. Once the seat was built the team was able to come together to discuss the type of cushioning needed for the adapted seat as well as what to cover it with.”
“While the seat adaptations were going on I was also meeting with Victoria Keating to figure out how to rewire the Jeep for a push-button switch to make the car go,” Davies said. “In addition to changing the seat and adding a push button, we replaced the steering wheel with a T-handle bar made out of PVC pipe to make it easier for the child to steer.”
Davies said all of the adaptations were made with common items found at a store, such as cardboard, PVC pipe, and a 1/2-inch gel seat cushion.