Go Baby Go! MKE Presents recent product modifications at MCW's Community Engagement poster session
Led by OREC Director Dr. Gerald Harris and Senior Engineer Molly Erickson, the Marquette-MCW Go Baby Go! MKE team presented at this year's Community Engagement poster session hosted by the Medical College of Wisconsin. Titled, "Continuing Community Engagement through Expanded Powered Mobility for Young Children with Special Needs," GBG! MKE's presentation focused on recent improvements and modifications to powered mobility options offered to children with gait and mobility disabilities in the Milwaukee area.
Go Baby Go! Milwaukee Improvements and Modifications
The GBG! MKE team is constantly working on improving the powered mobility options available to GBG! car recipients. These modifications are informed by family satisfaction surveys completed by the GBG! MKE families. The GBG! MKE team created an optional, anonymous Caregiver Survey that is sent to all email addresses listed on the GBG! MKE applications. The survey is sent out annually with the goal of better understanding the GBG! MKE family experiences after they take their car home.
As a result of the Caregiver Surveys the following challenges were identified:
- Some children experienced difficulties driving a self-steer car
- Some children were startled by the initial motion/start-up of the car
- Some families experienced difficulties transporting the car in their vehicle
To address these challenges the team implemented the following technical advances:
In 2019 the GBG! MKE team started producing remote control vehicles. The car is wired so that the child must press an adaptive switch while the parent simultaneously presses a forward/backward button on the remote for the car to move. This keeps the child actively engaged with the motion while addressing the difficulties children were experiencing with the self-steer car.
In 2020 the GBG! MKE team started producing an acceleration controller microprocessor-based system for self-steer vehicles. This system is designed to slowly ramp the speed of the car up from zero. The ramp-up velocity is much slower than the car’s initial velocity and is designed to address startle reactions resulting from the initial car start-up.
In 2022 the GBG! MKE team will investigate a joystick-driven vehicle control. This vehicle is lighter and smaller than the standard GBG! MKE cars for convenient transport. The new vehicle is constructed and programmed to behave similarly to an electric-powered wheelchair, thus providing early exposure to joystick control in very young children.
This work was authored by Molly Erickson, BS; Elizabeth Conrath, PT, DPT, PCS; Allison Friel, MOT, OTR/L, C/NDT; Lauren Tyson, PT, DPT; Zachary Krueger, Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate, Gerald F Harris, PE, PhD.
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