When Phoenix King was born four months ago, his parents Jeremy and Chelsie faced a difficult road ahead. Jeremy had brain surgery three years ago to remove a brain tumor, Chelsie said, which left him with what she described as “some physical challenges and physical disabilities.”
One big question: How could Jeremy safely take Phoenix for a walk?
Chelsie, a teacher at Bullis School, a private school in Potomac, Maryland, reached out to the head of the school’s technology lab Matt Zigler. He then presented the challenge to his students — including Jacob Zlotnitsky and Ibenka Espinoza, both of whom hope to study astrophysics in college.
The students designed a life-changing invention for Jeremy, who is now able to enjoy the simple pleasure of taking a stroll with his family.
Prototypes for the WheeStroll, as they call it, were made using a 3D printer. The students designed custom brackets and shaped aluminum maker pipe to secure the wheelchair and stroller together.
“I think they dumped a bunch of cinderblocks in it and actually weight-tested it at the school a couple times, which I think the kids were really into,” Chelsie said of the design.
Their design won two international design awards — and for Jeremy, it’s a godsend. “I never thought I’d be able to do something like this safely,” he said. “I feel wonderful. I feel ecstatic.”
Zlotnitsky said “seeing the smiles on their faces” was the best part about coming up with the successful design.
“The relief that, oof, it worked,” added Espinoza.