LETU wheelchair project eases suffering

Published on Saturday, 20 July 2013 00:13 - Written by By Danny Mogle danny@inmagtexas.com

I’m delighted to learn that the Wheels Project at Longview’s LeTourneau University recently shared its latest findings with fellow researchers.

Faculty and students in the Wheels Project evaluate the effectiveness of wheelchairs used by people in parts of world where there are few accommodations for those with handicaps.

When I met Associate Biology Professor Karen Rispin earlier this year, she and her Wheels Project student research team had just returned from a boarding school in Kenya where they had put children in wheelchairs through tests to determine how much physical exertion they used to get around.

The less energy the children had to use, the better the wheelchair was doing its job. Wheelchair manufacturers use this type of data to make modifications and create better models.

At the time of our meeting, Dr. Rispin was still crunching the numbers and reviewing the feedback from wheelchair users collected by LETU students.

Her work is now done.

Dr. Rispin and some of the Wheels Project student researchers recently presented their findings at a conference of the nation’s leading rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology specialists.

Members of LETU’s Frontiers Wheelchairs also spoke at the conference. Frontier Wheelchairs involves LETU engineering professors and students designing and making wheelchairs primarily used in low-income countries.

When I met Dr. Rispin and graduate student Nicole Leman, what struck me most was their joy about being able to do something to improve the lives of those less fortunate. They were thrilled that their work is helping to create wheelchairs that better meet the needs of disabled children.

I’m delighted that LETU uses its faculty and students to make the world a smarter place. I’m grateful in a more profound way that LETU uses its faculty and students to ease human suffering. Such an ongoing demonstration of God’s love makes the world a better place.