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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

Engineers modify toy electric car to get Kansas toddler mobile

January 12, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (MADONNA)--Carter Brown may be just 16 months old, but he’s got a license to drive thanks to the work of engineers with Madonna's Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering.

Chase Pfeifer, Ph.D., assistant research director for the Institute's Rehabilitation Engineering Center of Excellence, Heidi Kratzer, a n electrical engineering student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and other members of the Institute modified a battery-powered toy vehicle for Carter.

The Kansas toddler suffered a brain injury at birth and has limited mobility. On Wednesday, Jan. 12, he received the keys to the toy Jeep Wrangler along with an instruction manual so mom and dad understand how it all works.

 The modified vehicle will help Carter learn cause and effect and improve his mobility. It also includes a remote control for mom and dad, a harness and a big green button Carter can push to “go baby go.”

The project was inspired by the national GoBabyGo! project, which started at the University of Delaware and is designed to get children with mobility-limiting conditions to move on their own.  Carter's parents bought the jeep and brought the idea to the Institute.

The special surprise and Carter’s reaction was captured by several media outlets: