A wheelchair stroller attachment was designed and built-in Maryland by a group of high school students so that people with disabilities could walk their babies. The student at Bullis School, a private K-12 school in Potomac, came up with the idea when they came to know that one of their teachers was pregnant, and her husband may never be able to walk his child because of impaired mobility.
Jacob Zlotnitsky, 18, was one of the ten students in Zigler’s class who dedicated his winter semester to creating the WheeStroll. For him, the project was more than a class assignment but became his purpose for that portion of his senior year. Jacob and his classmate began by brainstorming many methods to transform the wheelchair into a device with a stroller or a baby carrier.
In the beginning, the project had more questions than ideas. Does the teacher husband live in an area with sidewalks? What kind of terrain is the wheelchair used? What would be the weather he is taking the baby out in? To help him move around, were there ramps?
According to Jacob, “The hardest part of the project was putting ourselves in the shoes of a person with physical disabilities. To achieve a successful project, we had to use empathy and make sure we were thinking about everything a person with Mr King’s disabilities would be forced to consider.”
After discussing with the expecting couple Jacob and classmates realised that their device would have to meet three design requirements. It has to be easy to manoeuvre, safe, and something the teacher’s husband could attach and detach without anyone help. The device was tested with the teacher’s husband before the baby was born. The students continued to add small adjustments and more safety features.
The students were able to create two designs after weeks of trial and error. The WheeStroll Wheelchair Stroller Attachment connects a car seat that uses a metal structure attached to a wheelchair. The WheeStroll Wheelchair Stroller Adapter attach an entire stroller to a wheelchair that uses 3D-printed parts.
According to Jacob, the WheeStroll Wheelchair Stroller Adapter can be used once the baby can no longer fit in a car seat when it grows up. When the kid was one week old, the final product was delivered to the couple. Soon the husband was able to take the kid out.
The team won two international awards, Best Showcase of Iterative Design and Best Inspirational Story by for their wheelchair project, the Make: able 3D Printing Challenge.