The Westminster Christian Academy robotics team recently partnered with Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Rehabilitation Hospital in Maryland Heights to assist in the development of modified ride-on cars to help the young patients progress in their developmental motor, socialization and cognitive skills.
With their first vehicle, the team made a number of adjustments, including modifying the controls to ensure that a child with limited fine motor skills can easily operate the car simply by leaning an arm against a large red button placed in the middle of the steering wheel. After making a number of other modifications, the team presented the vehicle to an 18-month-old patient at Ranken Jordan.
The team hopes to further modify the car to meet the specific needs of this patient, and they hope to modify and complete three additional cars by the end of the school year. As part of this first presentation, Westminster also provided engineering documentation to Ranken Jordan’s safety and legal committees to establish a comprehensive program that fully meets the requirements of the hospital and its patients.
“In this partnership, the business development, financial, mechanical and electronics skills that our team has learned in the course of the FIRST Robotics competition are enabling our high school students to be a part of changing the lives of these young children,” explained Lisa Harding, Westminster’s program director. “We are honored that Ranken Jordan has asked Westminster’s robotics team to establish this program and provide powered mobility to children who would otherwise miss out on the important developmental benefits that come from independent movement.”