Texas Tech engineering students deliver final projects to help disabled kids

Texas Tech engineering students deliver final projects to help disabled kids
Aiden wearing prosthetic hand made by TTU students.
Issac sitting in motorized wheelchair made by TTU students (Source: KCBD)
Issac sitting in motorized wheelchair made by TTU students (Source: KCBD)
Issac riding bike specifically made for his needs (Source: KCBD)
Issac riding bike specifically made for his needs (Source: KCBD)
Aiden using his prosthetic hand. (Source: KCBD)
Aiden using his prosthetic hand. (Source: KCBD)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Senior mechanical engineering students at Texas Tech delivered their final projects this week, projects that were worth more than just a final grade.

These projects required a year's worth of designing, molding, adjusting, monitoring, and finally a finished project - assistive tools to help two disabled students at Bean Elementary.

"It sounded like such a cool project to be able to work with somebody - a more personal project - it just meant a lot more to be able to meet him personally and be able to work with him," said Senior mechanical engineering student, Matthew Mills.

Aiden Galvan is right-handed but doesn't have a fully-functioning right hand.

He is determined and hasn't let that get in his way, but always wondered what it would be like to have a fully-functioning hand.

"He just kept asking about how he could make his typing better, so I said you know what? Let's do some research. So we started researching," said Aiden's teacher, Darlinda Rogers.

Rogers contacted the Texas Tech Engineering Department and a year later they were there to present their final project.

"I've never had one of these. One of these hands, I've never had one," Aiden said.

Aiden wanted to be able to type better, throw and catch a ball, and write better. Things he will now be able to do with his new prosthetic hand.

"When my hand fingers go up it goes up and when it goes down it goes down," Aiden said.

But the engineering students didn't stop there.

Issac Montoya is in a wheelchair.

He is strong and can move around but there are obviously some things he can't do, so when Issac met with the engineering students to talk about the project he had some special requests.

"We all came up here and kind of pitched our idea to him but then he also had ideas for us. One of the big things he wanted was for it to be able to raise up and down, so we made sure that would be one of the things we incorporate into the wheelchair," said Senior mechanical engineering student Rigolemus.

Issac now has a motorized wheelchair that can raise up and down and has bigger tires so he can go outside and play with his sister.

"I thought it was pretty cool when I first heard about it because he was wanting something different than the one he had, especially to go up and down like when I'm cooking, he wanted to check it out when I'm cooking. He will be able to do that. He's been waiting for years so he's really excited," said Issac's dad, Issac Montoya.

After the boys received their new assistive tools they were surprised with bicycles, also specially designed for them. An early Christmas surprise for the two young boys and more than just a grade for the engineering students.

"It was a really emotional experience to be able to...his whole life he's been missing something and to really help fill that gap for him - so exciting for him to be able to start doing things that he hasn't been able to do. I'm glad we were able to have a part in that," Mills said.

"She's told me over and over, we wanted to do this for him, but it began to do things for us," Rogers said.

A project that impacted everyone in a way they didn't expect.

"It has grown and evolved these kids from just being engineering students to compassionate professionals. We've taken it all the way from design to ideals and bring it up and adjust and monitor… it's really been something for all of us," Rogers said.

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