Wright State engineers help 2-year-old to Go Baby, Go

Two-year-old Ryder McGriff has battled a brain tumor and epilepsy. The tumor, which was located near his brain stem, required 28 surgeries and has left him with gross motor delays.

“He’s a very slow walker, he takes three steps and stops,” said Cassie McGriff, Ryder’s mom. “He’s a very independent toddler. Anything that he can do to be on his own he loves.”

Wright State’s Ohio’s STEM Ability Alliance program collaborated with the Clinton County Board of Developmental Disabilities to build a motorized vehicle to help Ryder get around on his own.

Created by the University of Delaware, the Go Baby Go program designs vehicles to safely empower children with mobility challenges to play and socialize more independently.

Ryan Goecke, a Wright State biomedical engineering student, volunteered to adapt a battery-operated car to fit Ryder’s needs. “I actually get to use my engineering knowledge and put it into play in a role that will make a difference,” said Goecke.

The car’s foot accelerator was replaced with a paddled button located on the steering wheel along with a seat belt system that can be adjusted as Ryder grows. The vehicle also has several other safety features including PVC pipe around the cabin for protection and an emergency shut-off switch on the side.

“It will let him get around our backyard and let him go where he wants to go and I don’t have to worry that he’s going to fall a lot,” says McGriff.

Funding for this project was provided by Bill Marine Ford, in Wilmington. Wright State’s STEM Ability Alliance program is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

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