Barstow FIRST Robotics Team 1939, in partnership with Variety KC-GoBabyGo!, hosted its second community build event to provide 20 motorized vehicles to children with disabilities on Saturday, November 17, at The Barstow School, 11511 State Line Road
During the one-day service project, eight area high school robotics teams and a group from Rockhurst University School of Engineering modified Power Wheels vehicles so children could experience new levels of independence in their daily lives. Instead of paying $25,000 for a motorized wheelchair for a child who may quickly outgrow it, GoBabyGo! cars cost about $300 each.
The Barstow Robotics Team, a leader in the international GoBabyGo! movement, successfully launched a global online forum in 2017 that connects more than 40 chapters, robotics teams and families around the world in 2017 (www.gbgconnect.com). This year’s community build adds another innovative element, the GoBabyGo! Hackathon. Barstow and three other experienced robotics teams were each paired with a child and have been working with their families and therapists to make more specialized modifications to fit each child’s need. Thes cars are valued at about $500.
“We chose kids who were older or had higher needs, so I think this is not only a terrific way for the high school students to showcase their skills, but also a way for us to meet needs of kids beyond their toddler years,” said Kendra Gagnon.
Barstow’s Hackathon team customized a Power Wheels Jeep with large navigational buttons for a young girl with cerebral palsy.
“Her therapy goal is to learn cause and effect, so we’re putting those buttons in front of her so she can play a song she likes or make the car move forward,” Barstow Robotics Coach Gavin Wood said. “All of these cars also have remote controls so parents can steer and brake for the children as well.”
A team from Burns & McDonnell will inspect the Hackathon cars for safety and judge how well they meet the needs of their clients. Student engineers will answer questions and explain their modifications and designs. The total cost for the community build event is about $10,000, generously provided by Variety KC.