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BLHS FCCLA and Robotics Create Partnership to Help Children in The Community

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BLHS FCCLA and Robotics Create Partnership to Help Children in The Community

Charles Hilen

Charles Hilen

Charles Hilen


This project is a partnership with the Children’s Therapy Unit (CTU) to create a tool that would  increase the mobility of children at CTU. We decided to work on a joint project of BLHS FCCLA and BLHS Robotics program to build something to help give mobility to those children with physical disorders at a low cost. Our goal was to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities by increasing their mobility.  FCCLA and Robotics aimed to create a motorized platform prototype that a non-mobilized wheelchair can be secured to.. The motorized platform would allow us to help children learn how to drive a motorized wheelchair, and can be used to help children ages 2 to 18 years old and up to 300 lbs. Robotics and FCCLA met to do project research and to build a motorized platform at weekly meetings after school on Tuesdays. To create a strong partnership with CTU,  we maintained communication by visiting and through emails with the CTU to make sure all their requirements and needs are met for the motorized platform, since they are our client. The major activities for this project involved building a motorized platform which a non-motorized wheelchair can roll on top of and essentially turns that wheelchair into a motorized wheelchair at a low cost and be an effective tool for children with disabilities to learn from.  Our first task was to better understand the needs of the children at the CTU. We toured the facility in order to see the children and what types of therapy they were given, and see examples of motorized wheelchairs. While seeing the examples of motorized vehicles, we better understood the parameters we needed for our motorized platform, and learned how wheelchairs are driven–joysticks, head arrays, and touch pads. We will be building and integrating these options in to our motorized platform to help children learn to drive in different ways.  We also did research on the disabilities of the patients, and reviewed child development to learn about their mobility and physical development. FCCLA partnered with our Robotics program to research, design and build the platform and with the CTU, who is funding this project and giving the parameters for the motorized platform. Robotics shared their knowledge of building tools, programming and technology. FCCLA was able to share our knowledge of child development and disabilities when we were making the prototype and design of the motorized platform.  

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BLHS FCCLA and Robotics Create Partnership to Help Children in The Community