Insurance didn’t cover 2-year-old’s wheelchair so high school robotics team built one

Rogue Robotics-CBS News

A 2-year-old boy suffering from a rare genetic disorder that doesn’t allow him to walk needed an electric wheelchair that his parents insurance didn’t cover, so a high school robotics team built him one instead.

The Farmington High School robotics team in Minnesota last year built 2-year-old Cillian Jackson a custom electric wheelchair with the help of the University of Delaware’s GoBabyGo program, which specializes in creating custom devices for children with limited mobility, according to CBS News.

{mosads}Using plans and models sent from the GoBabyGo program, the Rogue Robotics Team from Farmington High School created Jackson an electric wheelchair that was converted from a Power Wheels toy car originally meant for playing in the yard.

The Power Wheels toy car was given to the robotics team by Jackson’s parents and quickly hacked and redesigned to better suit the toddler’s specific needs.

The robotic team hacked the toy car’s electronics, remodeled the steering and customized the seat for Jackson. The team plans to compete in a state competition next month to show off some of the skills they used in making the chair.

“I would say [it took] a couple of weeks working after school,” Rogue Robotics Coach Spencer Elvebak told CBS News. “The GoBabyGo program gave us some great resources to use, but we did have to make quite a few customizations to accommodate for Cillian’s specific needs.”

Jackson was first given the modified toy car just before Christmas, and parents Tyler and Krissy told CNN it has completely changed how Cillian gets around.

“When he gets in his car, he will consciously stop and look at a doorknob or a light switch or all of these things he’s never had time to explore,” Tyler Jackson told CNN.

Jackson’s parents said they plan to have Cillian use the wheelchair until he attends school, where he will need a motorized wheelchair. At that point the Jacksons believe it will qualify to be covered by insurance.


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