Tyler Jackson recently approached the robotics club at Farmington High School with a life-changing request: Would they be able to build his 2-year-old son a power wheelchair?
Cillian Jackson was born with a rare genetic microdeletion known as NRXN1, and it can be hard for him to move around. He enjoys being with people, and a therapist told the family he would benefit from having an electric wheelchair. She told them about a group that modifies Power Wheels so they can be used by children with disabilities, but there isn't a chapter near their home in Farmington, Minnesota.
That's when Tyler Jackson decided to see if the Rogue Robotics team could help his son. "It seemed like an engineering challenge like we have to do for robotics [competitions] and it seemed like it was for a great cause," tech education teacher and robotics coach Spencer Elvebak told Today. "The kids got a heck of a lot out of it." Starting with a Power Wheels car, the students were able to customize it for Cillian, making a custom joystick using a 3D printer, and installing a smaller seat with a safety harness.
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Cillian's parents say his new wheelchair lets him explore the world, and helped him become more independent. "He just loves pausing and looking at things because he has never had this ability before," his mother, Krissy Jackson, told Today. "You just see his eyes light up. He just sees things from a different lens and it is incredible." Catherine Garcia
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