An Ellsworth eight-year-old is getting the tricycle she wanted for Christmas through the help of a special effort by a class of freshman engineering students at Iowa State University. Scott Openshaw’s class built the special trike for Kia Jordan, who has limited use of her legs and one arm as a result of spinal meningitis.He says the students designed a recumbent tricycle that’s smaller than the normal trike. Openshaw says the special toy can be adjusted as Kia grows. The tricycle was one of 18 projects the class worked on. Openshaw says the projects make the engineering process real to students. He says that’s his goal, to let students see their work beyond the paper, and get them excited about engineering. Openshaw says many of the other projects were also designed to help those with physical challenges.Another group re-designed a hoist that allows someone in a wheelchair to be hoisted out so they can go to the bathroom.Openshaw and colleague Jess Comer work with several agencies in Ames and Des Moines to find ideas for projects that will help people, and give the students a challenge.
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