Engineering students deliver projects to Little Light House

Monday, May 06, 2013

After nearly a year of designing and building their senior projects, mechanical engineering students delivered sensory and mobility aid devices for children at the Little Light House

Little Light HouseThe TU Department of Mechanical Engineering has worked alongside The Little Light House for the past three years through the Make a Difference in Engineering (MADE at TU) program. For more than 25 years, students in TU’s College of Engineering and Natural Sciences have focused their talents on projects that address the needs of area residents with physical and developmental disabilities.

“This program not only allows our college to work directly with the community, but it also inspires our students to think beyond a technical standpoint and truly see how their work touches the lives of others,” said ENS Dean James Sorem.

The Surfin’ Tubes project consists of a portable “frictionless slide” that provides rollers in place of a traditional flat plastic slide. The surface offers children with limited mobility and developmental concerns a unique tactile experience to help foster the motor skills that able-bodied children acquire from everyday play. Team members include Lee Bailey, Adam Bremerkamp, Austin Cookson, Beth Geatches, Audrey LeCompte, Dylan Morrow and Paige Norman.

Little Light HouseThe Magic Rider device is a vehicle designed to enable children with mobility challenges to experience self-initiated locomotion within the environment. Children diagnosed with various developmental challenges will benefit from this project by enhancing their perceptual and cognitive development through exploration of space. Independent power mobility provides opportunities otherwise denied by their physical disabilities. Team members include Hussain Al-Darwish, Cole Brown, Michael Cairns, Molly Chann, Garrett Edler, Will LePage and Jason Sudrla.

“These design projects are outstanding examples of our students’ capabilities,” said Steve Tipton, the Frank W. Murphy Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “Our department is grateful for the opportunity to partner with such a great organization to improve the lives of children with special needs.”

The Department of Mechanical Engineering recently received the Change Agent Award from Volunteer Tulsa for its outstanding service to The Little Light House since 2011.

“We’re grateful for all of the time and effort these TU students contribute to Little Light House projects,” said Anne McCoy, staff occupational therapist at the Little Light House. “We really enjoy this relationship we have with TU, and the children are always so excited to try out the new devices. They are truly the ones who benefit the most from this TU partnership.”

Gail Ellis