Long Island students’ invention helps children with prosthetics

A group of Long Island college students have won a spot in a national STEM competition with their invention, a device that could change the lives of children with prosthetics.

This is a magnetized pedal and sneaker attachment to help children with lower extremity loss cycle safely and easily.

“Some models are insecure if they try to get off the bike as if they are falling,” said one student.

The first concept of its kind was created by a group of sixth graders from the Oceanside School District. Together, they entered a national competition that challenges students in grades 6-12 to use their STEM skills to identify and solve a real-world problem in their community.

So, with the help of Rob Schulman, certified prosthetist and executive director of the Limb Kind Foundation, the students designed a pedal adaptation.

“Every time we met, they couldn’t raise their hands fast enough to come up with different solutions — it was an amazing experience to see the innovation and creativity of these kids,” Schulman said.

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The prototype Velcros onto any regular shoe and uses magnets strong enough to attach to the pedal yet easy to remove when needed.

Students who were the youngest group and only one in ten nationwide to advance to the finals spent less than $20 on materials. Teacher Kristin Stea told FOX 5 NY she was proud of them and the concept they came up with.

“We wanted the kid to feel like everyone else,” she said. “They are already different and we wanted them to be proud of who they are.”

By mid-April, the team is training for the final round of the competition. They will field a panel of judges around town for a chance to win $100,000 and hopefully have the pedal made.