Three Kalani students, Andy Au (10), Zi Tao Li (10), and Codie Nakamura (10) from the school’s Robotics Club developed a beach wheelchair prototype to help a motion impaired person travel across the sand for the 2020 REACH Challenge.
They were scored based on an essay and video and were one of the Hawaii national finalists representing nine different states.
According to the ITEEA’s website, the REACH Challenge is a design-thinking project for middle school, high school, and college-level STEM programs. The students use their STEM skills to help a member in their community who has a challenge to overcome.
The Reach Challenge shows the students that their STEM skills can make a difference to the people around them, and encourages them to use their knowledge to have a positive impact on their communities.
Li, Au, and Nakamura started researching around September. Their teacher, Bryan Silver provided them a wheelchair to test in the sand and they figured out that the wheels were not getting much traction. They swapped in bike wheels and decided to use bigger and wider front wheels.
Once they had all the materials, building started in November and carried through December.
When they finished their first prototype, they discovered it couldn’t support the weight of a person. The team made adjustments to the front wheel using the pieces that connected the footrest. Making one more adjustment they offset the wheel from the swivel.
It all cost around $150 since they were able to reuse a lot of the parts.
They are invited to travel to Baltimore, MD on March 11-14 for the 82 annual ITEEA Conference.