Converted Car Lets Toddlers Tool Around

A few years ago, a professor at the University of Delaware started a project called Go Baby Go. It’s designed to bring fun and affordable mobility to small children with disabilities. The idea is to modify Power Wheels cars to make them easier for disabled kids to operate, and to teach as many people as possible how to do it in the process. The [South Eugene Robotics Team] is taking this a step further by replacing the steering wheel with a joystick that controls two motors with an Arduino Nano.

In the first instance you replace the foot pedal with a push button. The plans also call for a PVC frame, a high-backed seat, and a seat belt to make it safer. The end result is a fun ride the kid can control themselves that functions a lot like a power wheelchair, but is much more affordable. It has the added bonus of being a fun conversation piece for the other kids instead of a weird scary thing.

They also replace the front wheels with 5″ casters, because being able to spin around in circles is awesome. Their project shows how to do the entire conversion in great detail, starting with a standard ride-on car that comes with some assembly required. Motor past the break to check out a short demo with an extremely happy child tooling around in a fire truck.

If these kids get too wild, they’re gonna need traction control for these things.

9 thoughts on “Converted Car Lets Toddlers Tool Around

    1. My daughter worked on building these at Oregon State a couple of years ago. It was great educationally and great for the toddlers and their parents.

      Power wheelchairs are essentially unavailable for children due to their enormous costs. (Think what the liability insurance would be for a mfg)

      1. I think this may be a US specific problem. I’ve seen power wheelchairs for children in admittedly developed countries. It seems both a bit crude and cruel to use actual toys instead of the proper tools for the job, especially when you consider the life-changing impact for the children involved.

        1. You make a good point about the state of insurance in the US, but in this case, I don’t think the toy cars are meant to replace powered wheelchairs, but to give very young kids experience maneuvering with a joystick so it’s easier for them to qualify for insurance for one when the time comes. The toy cars are also interesting to playmates so they help break down social barriers for kids.

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