Meet Alex and BumblebeeAlex is a 16 year old boy who loves cars, making music, and the Transformers movies. Alex has global hypotonia which makes it hard to control his muscles and requires the use of a wheelchair. Bumblebee is an epic costume for Alex’s chair that is interactive, with multiple types of inputs for Alex, and a big sound system and lots of LEDs. This is the story of how we turned this chair into a transformer!
A Little BackgroundIn June 2018, while at the Nation of Makers conference (NOMCON) in Santa Fe, NM, we met an organization called Magic Wheelchair. Magic Wheelchair has one of the simplest and most awesome mission statements…
“Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that builds epic costumes for kiddos in wheelchairs — at no cost to families. “Once we learned of this mission, we asked to have our makerspace, MakerFX, added to their list of builders willing to take on the job of building an epic costume. We also met Bill Binko of ATMakers at NOMCON 2018. ATMaker’s goal is to “bridge the gap between the amazing abilities of those in the Maker movement and STEM/Robotics organizations and the constant need of those in the Assistive Technology space.” We learned that ATMakers is located in Tarpon Springs, just a few hours away from our home base in Orlando, and agreed that we should collaborate together in the future. Fast forward to early 2019 (or three sleepless weeks ago!) – Bill reaches out to us and there is a possibility of being matched with a kiddo in Central Florida by Magic Wheelchair, and that he’d like us to be involved. There is a big reveal planned for the Assistive Tech Industry Association conference (ATIA) and it is a great opportunity to get involved. Oh, and we have THREE WEEKS.
“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” Leonard Bernstein