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ALS Trike UC Davis Engineering Students Make It Happen!

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Category:ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease

Original Post

You can see a successful test run with an individual who has ALS here:

The video above was taken in May of 2017. The picture with the fundraiser shows some of the students with the trike:

If you would like your own trike you can send an email to:

Where We Are Today:
We recently experienced some electrical problems right at the end of the school year. Many of the students have volunteered to rebuild the electrical system over the summer and that is why we are asking for additional help. We estimate needing about $4,000.00. If you are able to help your donation would be greatly appreciated.

The "Quadriplegic Friendly Trike" is the result of a yearlong design project by eleven undergraduate students at the University of California, Davis. Felicia Fashanu, Wilson Li, Jake Parkhurst, and Aaron Shaw are Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students; Cynthia Devaughn, Daniel Hansen, Thomas Poozhikala, and Vivian Ting are Biomedical Engineering students; Andy Wu is a Computer Science student; and Isaac Tseng and Timothea Wang are Design students. The project was initiated when the sponsor, Greg Tanner, who has ALS, contacted MAE faculty member Jason K. Moore who then teamed up with faculty member Anthony Passerini from Biomedical Engineering to host the project in their respective capstone design courses. Greg's wish was to be able to go on bike rides with his family even as his motor skills deteriorate. The students took this desire to heart as the main design need to focus on. With Greg's help the team secured an OutriderUSA Horizon electric recumbent tricycle and the results of a previous undergraduate engineering project from the University of North Carolina, Asheville as a starting point for their design. Both OutriderUSA and the students from Asheville provided guidance to the UCD team for the duration of the project. In addition to the sponsors' support, the students secured a $3k grant from the CITRIS "Tech for Social Good" program to fund their project.

The commercial OutriderUSA tricycle is designed for users that have limited lower limb motor skills but full upper body capabilities. Previously, the UNC students adapted the tricycle for users that could use a hand joystick for control. The UCD students took this further and adapted the tricycle for quadriplegic users, with the assumption that the user had some neck and facial motor skills. They also made custom adaptions for Greg to utilize various additional muscle abilities he possessed for controlling the vehicle, thus making it additionally appropriate for users with ALS.

The UCD vehicle has been designed specifically for individuals affected by even the most acute forms of quadriplegia and is primarily controlled via a joystick that interfaces with either the mouth or chin of the user. The design features mouth/chin joystick drive-by-wire control for throttle, steering, and braking, fully redesigned software, a strengthened braking and steering system, a full-body harness, multiple failsafe systems, and improved electrical wiring. The tricycle can be operated up to 10 mph under the control of the driver or by radio control from a caretaker. The result of this project has successfully allowed Greg, at a progressed stage of ALS, to drive the vehicle unassisted, something he has not been able to do for a long time. After weeks of successful tests, the students are confident in the vehicle’s ability to provide an unparalleled level of mobility, freedom, and fun to those who need it most.


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