Trike-Able April 2004

Paul Berlin, Jr., Dave Haurroun, Benjamin Jansky, and Shawn Wilson made a little boy's dream come true by presenting Trike-Able, a pedaled vehicle, to him at that end of their Senior Design presentation.

Before Nathan took his initial ride on the bike, a crowd listened intently in the Engineering auditorium as the four students explained how Paul Bruchman came to their Mechanical Engineering 481 class and proposed an idea to make restraints that would go over the pedals of his son's tricycle. Nathan has spina bifida, and because of this has limited use of his legs. The team of Paul, Dave, Ben, and Shawn took this idea and expanded on it with the help of their project advisor Dr. Promod Vohra and instructor Dr. Abhijit Gupta to design and fabricate a unique three-wheeled, pedaled vehicle for the disabled that is capable of being adjusted to meet both rider size and physical capability.

Grandparents Robert and Karen Bruchman attended the presentation and were delighted to witness Nathan's big smile as he pedaled the Trike-Able up and down the side aisle. A congratulation thank you letter addressed to Dr. Vohra, Dr. Gupta, and Dr. Song, ME Chair, was received from these grandparents dated April 30th, the presentation day. Their excitement was evident from the comments of "they are a credit to NIU's leadership," "the students not only conducted an exercise in engineering but also added a great element of heart," "the Department of Engineering seemed to us today to be a place of support, sound education, and integrity." The grandparents thanked everyone else in the Department of Engineering who contributed to the project and Mr. Al Metzger who helped the students on the project.

The team thanked two local bicycle shops, BlueMoon Bikes and DeKalb Cyclery, plus other local businesses for parts and help as well as Nathan and his parents for letting them come to their home to try out different versions in the design stage. April 30th Senior Design Presentation day was a great success for Berlin, Haurroun, Jansky, Wilson team, their College of Engineering faculty and advisors and staff, and especially Nathan Bruchman and his proud family.