Engineering everywhere! Fix some lives.

When I got my new job several months ago, I realized the gas lift on my chair was broken. As soon as I sat down, the chair slammed right down to the bottom. My tailbone can only take a beating so many times.

Well, good news is that my boss is an engineer. He bought some PVC pipe, and some big metal zip ties, and went to work. A few minutes later, he’d fixed my chair for me, like some kind of MacGyver. That’s a simple way engineering can fix a problem in someone’s life.

Here’s a really cool way:

image of Shane Carey sitting in his wheelchair, with his computer attached

Shane's got a lot to deal with, but not having his computer is no longer one of them.

This kid named Shane Carrey, who goes to White Swan High School, has Cerebral Palsy. As a result, he can’t walk or talk. But the guy is normal–he just needs a computer to communicate.

Problem: Shane gets around on his wheelchair, but needed someone to set his computer up for him, and take it down, for each class. And he didn’t have it set up during lunch or in the hallways.

Solution: Some classmates decide to make engineers of themselves, and designed him the monitor stand you see in that picture to the right. Now his computer is always set up, and he can communicate on his own.

Out of the article linked-to at the end of this:

“We measured and measured and remeasured again,” says 18-year-old senior Ben Heintzman. “We wanted to get it right.

“My reward was seeing that it actually works,” he says. “I did it to help a fellow student. I don’t like to see a fellow student struggling through classes. Shane couldn’t really participate in class. He would be there, but he really couldn’t participate.”

Senior Kyle Dorais took on the welding. The 18-year-old has known Shane for about eight years.

“We didn’t want too much weight on the front of the chair,” he says. “We wanted it to be lightweight, but we also wanted it to hold the computer.”

Dorais was one of 15 engineering students — out of 29 from two different classes — to earn 10 extra credit points for their work on the project.
Yeah, kind of cool. Some engineering students decide to get some practice, roll it up with extra credit, and help a kid out. Kicker: Now he’s got his computer during lunch and whatnot, so he can talk to his classmates.

Read what I read:

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