Education

High School Robotics Team Builds Wheelchair for Toddler

This story is so heartwarming it's gone viral -- internationally!


When a Minnesota boy needed an expensive wheelchair and insurance wouldn't cover it, his father had a bright idea: he reached out to the robotics team at his former high school.

Out of that grew a something special that put a smile on everyone's faces, from the student inventors, to the family, to the thousands, maybe millions of people who've seen the story on social media and international news outlets.

Little Cillian needed a special chair, but insurance wouldn't pay (Images: Sally McConnaughey, Farmington Area Public Schools)

2-year old Cillian Jackson has a genetic condition that prevents him from getting around. "He has an especially hard time controlling his body. He has a lot of symptoms you'd see in someone who has cerebral palsy," Tyler Jackson, Cillian's father, told KARE-TV .

Students brainstormed to cobble together parts from various sources for the one-of-a-kind chair (Image: JC Loza/Rogue Robotics Farmington)

The moment Jackson asked the Farmington High School (Minnesota) Rogue Robotics team to help, they immediately jumped on board. KARE reports members of the robotics team replaced nearly every electrical component in a Power Wheels toy, mounted a seat from a bicycle carrier, even designed a custom joystick and fabricated it on a 3D printer.

"These kids took time out of their busy schedules to do this for our son. We're so grateful." Krissy Jackson, Cillian's mom

Four months after recieving the wheelchair, Cillian and family were back at the school so he could show off his moves to the teens responsible for this incredible gift.

(Video: JC Loza/Rogue Robotics Farmington)

KARE says, while the students have plenty of skills from their work on robots for competitions, they also got help from GoBabyGo , a mobility research program at the University of Delaware.

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