HS robotics team built an electric wheelchair for toddler who doesn't yet qualify for insurance
Farmington Public Schools in Minnesota has a “Rogue Robotics Team,” or rather a high school robotics STEM-related program that calls itself the “Rogue Robotics Team.” Cillian Jackson is a 2-year-old boy with a rare genetic disorder that greatly limits his mobility. The heartwarming news is that Cillian’s father Tyler Jackson, reached out to the Rogue Robotics Team to help him solve the issue of getting a customized wheelchair for his son, and they came through.
Tyler Jackson explained to KARE11 that “Cillian still lacks some of the maturity and focus to drive an electric wheelchair in a public setting, which is the primary reason why he hasn’t been approved for one. Frankly, we haven’t even tried yet because we know he would be denied based on the proficiency requirement.”
It would be nice if our healthcare system covered all differently abled people at every stage of their lives. Giving Cillian more control over his mobility is not simply about letting him get from point A to point B, it’s also about his psychological and mental development, as Tyler told Sun This Week, “There have been times where he’ll be driving along and he’ll come close to something and he’ll stop. And if he went too far, he’ll start backing up. He’ll try to get closer so he can interact with it, which isn’t something that we see while we’re carrying him around or holding him.”
With the help of the University of Delaware’s GoBabyGo program—a program that customizes mobility devices for children with mobility needs—the Farmington High School students put together a pretty awesome and totally customized little wheelchair-like device. The team’s coach, Spencer Elvebak, told CBS News that it took the Rogue Robots Team “a couple of weeks working after school,” to make the wheelchair. The team was able to present it to the Jackson family and Cillian as an early “Christmas” present in December.
As one of the students told NBC News, “I think we won here more than we do at our competitions.”