Illinois high school robotics team designs motorized wheelchair for boy with cerebral palsy

A high school robotics team in Rockton, Ill., has designed a custom motorized wheelchair for a local boy with cerebral palsy, giving him mobile independence for the first time. 

Local CBS News affiliate WIFR reported that the parents of 7-year-old Jack Hughes reached out to Hononegah High School's Stateline Robotics Team to customize a motorized toy car they had bought for their son to be able to play in. 

"We were looking for them to adjust the double joysticks to just one side," Jack's mother, Michelle Hughes, told the station.

But the high schoolers went well beyond the requested changes, rewiring the car, adding another remote controller that Jack's parents or sister can use, and adding a comfortable chair that keeps his head positioned correctly.


"We wanted to keep him comfortable with the seat and we wanted to make sure he had his head positioned right and that he was comfortable with what he was in," Jayden Dahlberg, a robotics team member told WIFR.

Hughes's sister said he has been using the wheelchair to play outside every day since they received it last Wednesday.

The robotics team said it plans to upload online instructions on how to engineer the same toy car into a personalized wheelchair so other robotics teams can help people in their communities. 

Their work comes after another high school robotics team went viral in April for designing a customized wheelchair for a 2-year-old boy with a rare genetic disorder after his parents' insurance would not cover it.