Michigan teen designs stroller adaption for new mom in wheelchair
DETROIT (WJBK) - A new mom in a wheelchair just wanted to take her new baby for a stroll, and she is finally able to do so after a Michigan high schooler designed the perfect solution.
Thirty years ago in Waterford, 5-year-old Sharina Jones was shot by another child playing with a gun. As a paraplegic, she has learned to adapt and lives a very active life - but sometimes she needs the world to adapt to her.
"A lot of my friends have babies and they are out, running with their babies in the stroller and I thought, 'What am I going to do?' she says.
Enter Alden Kane, a 16-year-old University of Detroit Jesuit High School senior. Through a high level stem class (that's science, technology, engineering and math) and in collaboration with the University of Detroit Mercy, Alden welcomed the challenge of designing an adaptable stroller for Sharina.
"The biggest priority is to make it safe for baby, of course," he tells FOX 2's Deena Centofanti. "And then, also you really want to make it independent for the mother."
The young engineer spent months working on the project, making sure it would be comfortable for Mom and for baby. So, using lightweight steel tubing, this baby carrier easily clamps onto the chair and then the baby's car seat seat snugly sets right in.
So far, the prototype is a huge hit.
"After six months of hard work, six months of working in the machine shop designing it up, it was priceless seeing the design on her wheelchair, being used with her child in it," Alden says.
Working in the classroom for the community is the goal of both the high school and university.
"We recognized several years ago as we started doing projects with mechanical engineers, there's a lot of energy - positive energy - and ability. Meanwhile, in the community, there's a lot of need for different types of products like the one for Sharina," says Dr. Darrell Kleinke from U of D Mercy.
But perhaps on this academic campus ripe with knowledge, we learn the most from Sharina, the woman in the wheelchair who never wanted to quit.
"You're still the same person, it's up to you how you want to live life," she says.
Next, Alden hopes to perfect his design and eventually apply for a patent. We're eager to see where he ends up going to college, and Sharina is eager to keep putting his prototype to the test.