BYU students engineer adult-sized contraption for cerebral palsy patients

PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - A disabled 18 year-old is no longer stuck sitting indoors, thanks to a group of local college students. 
 
Some Brigham Young University engineering undergraduates dedicated their whole school year to the project, and Thursday, their hard work is paying off.
 
The group met at the BYU Wilkinson Center to demonstrate what they engineered and made one local family very happy.  
 
Eighteen year-old McKay Mitton and his dad were all smiles, while trying out their new contraption. 
 
"I'm just excited for McKay.  He loves to be outside and loves to do things, and there's a lot of things he can't do," said Todd Mitton, McKay's father, who is a professor at BYU. 
 
Born with cerebral palsy, McKay is not able to move much or even speak.  His parents say he outgrew his recreational strollers and bike trailers years ago, so he is often stuck inside his Lindon home. 
 
"We haven't been able to take him on bike rides for a long time," his dad said.  
 
"We couldn't find anything on the market, especially for a bike trailer," added Allison Mitton, McKay's mother.
 
BYU's engineering department caught wind of the situation last year, and that is when the group of students decided to help out.  For nine months, the team of six designed and built an adult-sized jogger that doubles as a bike trailer, and they included McKay in the process. 
 
"We actually went over there to his house -- saw him there in his home environment... [We were able] to see his reactions to, 'Hey what color should we make this seat?' and seeing him smile when we picked one color over the other," said Tyler Crouch, a member of the team.
 
While the finished product is not quite ready to take home, McKay's parents say they are thrilled and can not wait to use it. 
 
"I'll probably run with him," his dad said. 
 
"I don't like to run.  But I love to bike!" his mom laughed.
 
McKay is one of three children in his family, in fact he is a triplet.  His sister is able-bodied and attends BYU.  His brother, who also had cerebral palsy, passed away two years ago. 
 
The project is what the group calls 'open source,' meaning the students are not patenting their design or putting any restrictions on it.  They plan on publishing instructions on how to make the jogger online at capstone.byu.edu in coming weeks.  They say their hope is that other families in similar situations will be able to benefit from the project as well. 
 

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