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High school students build wheelchair stroller to help father walk his newborn

Written by on July 20, 2021

A Maryland father whose mobility was impaired after having brain surgery was given the chance to walk his newborn son. 

It was all thanks to a group of students at Bullis School in Potomac that was on a mission to help out a fellow teacher. 

Three years ago Matt Zigler, the school’s BITlab coordinator, created a class that utilized the school’s maker space – a collaborative workspace filled with tools and advanced technology like 3D printers – to focus on “empathy-driven” projects. 

It’s called “making for social good.” 

Students at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, working on the wheelchair stroller. 

Students at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, working on the wheelchair stroller. 
(Matt Zigler )

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“The goal of the class each year is to pick a person or an organization that we can design and build something for, go through a sort of empathy-driven process to understand what it is that they really need, and then also to design something that uses the tools in the lab and could hopefully be fabricated by other people with access to similar tools,” Zigler told Fox News.  

One of their latest projects – started in November 2020 – was for a fellow teacher who gave birth to a baby boy in March 2021. 

Chelsie King's husband, Jeremy King, using the new invention. 

Chelsie King’s husband, Jeremy King, using the new invention. 
(Matt Zigler )

Chelsie King’s husband, Jeremy, had brain surgery three years ago. Afterward, he was faced with some balance issues, “so it wouldn’t be safe for him to carry their son around or push a stroller,” Zigler said. 

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After interviewing the family about what they needed and wanted out of the device –  safety, maneuverability and for it to be easily attachable – the students got to work. 

“We use some 3D modeling software and they [the students] each sort of came up with different suggestions, very quick prototypes,” Zigler said. 

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The class broke into two groups to test out two different designs. For one model, the students took an infant car seat and attached it directly to the wheelchair. For the other, the students connected the wheelchair to an existing stroller, “so you could actually push the stroller in front of you,” he added. 

Students at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, created two models of a wheelchair stroller. 

Students at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, created two models of a wheelchair stroller. 
(Matt Zigler )

Both models were gifted to the family after extensive testing. 

After the project was completed, the instructions to build the models were posted online to help others facing similar obstacles. 

 CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP 

However, the point isn’t about the accomplishment of just one project. 

According to Zigler, it’s important to understand that these maker spaces have the power to create things that truly help people rather than just “printing little toys and decorative objects and things” that aren’t “really functional or useful in the world.”

“It’s important to recognize the power that the tools that a maker space has to build functional things that can benefit people,” he said. 

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