Two children with autism at East Ridge Elementary School can now have a little fun while working on their motor skills. Thanks to a group of UTC engineering students, the children have a tricycle with a blinking, motion-activated light.

“Our project was to modify the tricycle to give the students some motivation to use it for recreation and exercise. Riding the tricycle helps them develop balance and stability,” UTC student Anastasia Sharp explained.

Students Jeremy Lawson and Anastasia Sharp pose next to the tricycle they modified for East Ridge Elementary

Students Jeremy Lawson and Anastasia Sharp pose next to the tricycle they modified for East Ridge Elementary

The team of students discussed several ideas before deciding to add a blinking light to the tricycle.

“We wanted something to encourage the students to use the trike while in motion. After a couple of brainstorming sessions, we decided that building a light that blinks while the child is pedaling would be fun,” Sharp said.

The team added an LED light to the front of the tricycle. It is powered by a motion sensor and a 9-volt battery that be turned on by a switch located under the tricycle.

“This project required a lot of creative thinking. We had to think of something that would be fun and stimulating for the kids, but also be safe enough for them to use on a daily basis,” Sharp said.

Though the project required several late nights, Sharp was pleased with the final result.

“The first time one of the students tested the tricycle with the light, he rode it all the way around the school. His teacher was ecstatic. She told us that normally the student doesn’t want to ride the tricycle. Now, he won’t stop.  He’s having too much fun,” she said.

Sharp’s teammates were Brandon Morgan, Jeremy Lawson, Tommy Hudson, and Wael Aldakhlalla.

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