Power wheelchairs are pretty expensive, which can keep some families who need one from being able to afford it. When two-year-old Cillian Jackson’s parents realized their son needed one because he has a condition that makes moving around really difficult and it was out of their price range, the got some help from the robotics team at Farmington High School in Minnesota.
Tyler Jackson, Cillian’s dad, reached out to his former high school and Farmington robotics coach Spencer Elvebak says when he brought it up to the team, they agreed unanimously to help. The students hand built the power wheelchair from a Power Wheels riding toy, replacing almost every electrical component, mounting a seat from a bicycle carrier, designing a joystick to fit Cillian’s needs, and fabricating it on a 3D printer.
The family is grateful that the teens took time out to do this for Cillian and say he really gets around well in his new set of wheels. But the robotics team also got something more out of building something for the little boy. “Instead of completing a task, we’re helping change someone’s life,” explains team member Drew Eisenzimmer.