Eleven-year-old Riley can now easily and comfortably play in her new desk, thanks to few enterprising UTC students.

Riley has developmental disabilities and has to use an adapted wheelchair. When she works at her desk, she often gets her arms caught under the table. UTC engineering students Robert Newell, Chris Leginsky, Kyle Phillips, and Paul Bell designed a new desk to provide a more comfortable and safe environment for her.

“Riley is always in motion. She likes to move her arms a lot and often gets them stuck under the desk. Our design has height adjustable legs with a tilting top to remedy that problem,” Paul Bell said. “It’s a simple design, but it meets her needs.”

The students created the desk as part of their coursework in the Introduction to Engineering Design class. In this course, engineering students work on projects supported by faculty. These projects provide faculty-student mentoring opportunities, build student-faculty relationships, and empower student engagement. The projects in the class focus on approving Assistive Technology for toddlers, young children, and adolescents.

“Going through the whole design process was fun and challenging. There was a lot of trial and error,” Bell said.

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