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LeTourneau students modify toys for disabled children

By Christina Lane
April 20, 2010 at 6:45 p.m.

Children with cerebral palsy tend to have limited arm movement, so LeTourneau University students on Tuesday modified toys to make them more accessible for the kids.

Freshmen engineering students used a Lego kit to modify off-the-shelf remote control toys, making them more accessible to disabled children, particularly those with cerebral palsy, assistant professor Matthew Green said.

"There's not a lot of movement when you lock your fists and arms," freshman Chris Black said during his group's presentation.

Most students made a large button that could be pressed or levers that could be moved with a fist. Black's team made a lever to push forward and back. His team demonstrated the remote by making a fist and pushing it to move their remote-controlled airplane.

The project came about after a Gladewater woman contacted the university asking whether there was a way to modify toys for her 2-year-old disabled child, Green said. Some students at the university are working on a project to help her, he said. Green decided to have his classes - 90 students - branch out from that idea.

Freshman Nathan Sumrall said his team tried to make their remote as simple as possible and the device portable. The team made a plywood box with handles to house the technology and make it portable.

Some videos might appear on YouTube in the future to explain to parents how to change the toys, Green said.

"Anybody can buy these Lego kits, and we're hoping that parents who have children with disabilities will be able to use the videos do this through an open source system," he said.



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