We are doing this Go-Baby-Go project because we want to make Hayden feel more mobile and like he can do anything other kids can. Working on a project like this feels great because it can be such a life-changer for him. The modifications we do will make driving the car much easier and prepare him for a motorized wheelchair in the future. Our main goal is to enhance the car in a way that is safe, functional, and enjoyable for Hayden.
Step 1: Making More Leg Room
We removed the square steel tubing that held the car together on the bottom and replaced it with longer and stronger steel tubing. This modification created 5 more inches of leg room which will be much more comfortable.
Step 2: Guard Rails
Since we extended the length of the vehicle, the original guard rails on the side did not fit properly anymore. The electrical class at the Caperton Center bent conduit for us to act as the new guard rails.
Step 3: Kill Switch
We added a kill switch on the vehicle so it can be easily turned off if Hayden is driving somewhere he isn't supposed to or is about to run into something. Accessibility is very important and the back of the car is the safest location.
Step 4: Wooden Insert
After we extended the bars on the bottom of the car, it created an opening between the seat and the floorboard. In order to cover it up, we cut out a piece of plywood and coated it in spray paint to match the rest of the vehicle.
Step 5: Back-Up Camera
It can be difficult for Hayden to turn around and look behind him, so we mounted a back-up camera on the guard rail that he can look at when the car is in reverse. To prevent distractions while the car is moving forward, the back-up camera turns on only when the car is in reverse.
Step 6: Sonars
A sonar can detect an obstacle in the way of its path. We mounted one on the front of the vehicle and one on the back which will start beeping if Hayden gets too close to something.
Step 7: Foot Strap
To prevent Hayden's feet from moving around, we added Velcro foot straps that are easy to put on and take off.
Step 8: Joystick Control
This car is preparing Hayden for a motorized wheelchair. We completely removed the steering wheel and foot pedal and mounted a servo motor that connects to the axle to turn the car using the joystick.
Step 9: Arduino
The Integrated Systems class at WVU-Parkersburg created a computer system, including an Arduino, that is connected to the joystick and the other electronic functions of the vehicle. It is basically responsible for controlling the entire vehicle.
Step 10: Seat Modification
Hayden needs to sit almost straight up in order to be comfortable, so we inserted two pieces of foam on the back of the seat that make him sit forward instead of leaning back. We also added one piece of foam on the bottom of the seat to make sure he isn't sitting on the hard plastic.
Step 11: 5-Point Harness
A 5-point harness acts as the seatbelt and will prevent Hayden from sliding around in the seat.
Step 12: Tablet Mount
Hayden's current wheelchair has a mount for his tablet so we put one in his new car to make him feel more familiar with it.