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High School researcher provides mobility to paraplegic mother

August 12, 2015

Little did Alden Kane know that his independent research project would transform someone’s life.

Alden KaneKane, a rising senior, is enrolled in Mr. Dominic Coccitti’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) research class at University of Detroit Jesuit High School.  This course offers an opportunity to perform research at a university and present findings in articles or conference poster presentations.

Kane’s assignment:  to design and build a device that will allow a paraplegic mother to easily transport her baby on her wheelchair.

Under the direction of Dr. Darrell Kleinke, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Kane created virtual models using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, which he first had to learn.

The first iteration was a baby carrier without wheels,” says Kane.  “After learning that the mother had problems with her wheelchair tipping over, we decided the extra weight was going to be a problem.

Now, the design is one that easily attaches to the wheelchair and includes the same “quick release” mechanism found on bicycles.  Additionally, it carries the standard baby car seat.

By accommodating the car seat, we did not have to design a new one in our project.  This makes for a better product,” says Kane.  “It also saves on the cost.

 “This was Alden’s project from the beginning,” says Kleinke.  “He designed it and created a prototype out of PVC tubing with minimal oversight.  We are grateful to Creform who manufactured Alden’s design at a minimal cost.

The baby car seat carrying device is scheduled to be in the mother’s hands by mid-August.

The College of Engineering & Science has an established history of creating enabling technologies to assist those with disabilities. 

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