When we began building cars for kids with movement limitations, we set out to create a set of solutions that would allow us to quickly tailor a car to many different needs. And, that is what we have done.
We began building cars, using on an off-the-shelf, toy car: the Fisher Price Power Wheels Dune Racer. This allowed us to build more cars faster by focusing our time and skill on creating special adaptations for our kids. We have perfected a set of features that meet a wide range of special needs.
We designed these features to be modular; so, that we can easily swap them in and out based on each child’s specific needs. These modules include a variety of drive control systems and safety features.
Today, we offer seven drive systems.
- Standard Steering with a "Go Button" - The first is a standard-steering system with a Go button. Designed for kids with good upper body strength and dexterity, Go Button-drive cars replace the “gas pedal” with a simple button under the child’s dominant thumb.
- Drive-by-Wire - This drive system looks and works like a "Go Button" car, but the drive system is no longer purely mechanical. We have embedded sensors in the steering assembly to track the movement of the steering wheel and translate this movement into digital information. This allows us to couple "Go Button" steering with a remote control for kids who are strong enough to use a steering wheel, but may need a little help driving.
- Joystick-Driven - For kids with limited upper body strength and dexterity, we switch to a joystick-driven system. These joystick systems feature small, easy-to-operate joystick drive that start and stop car with the lightest push.
- Control Panel-Driven - For kids with little upper body strength and manual dexterity and/or for those whose control comes and goes, we offer button-driven cars. If the child can slap or lean on a button with some consistency, s/he can drive with these.
- Head Control-Driven - For kids with little ability to move their body, but significant control over their heads, we offer our head control-driven system. Optical sensors track and respond to the child's head movement.
- Eye Gaze-Directed Drive - Some kids have little or no ability to control the movement of their bodies. If they can control the movement of their eyes and they are old enough to learn and follow instructions, we offer a drive system controlled exclusively by the movement of their eyes. Where they look, the car goes.
- Sip and Puff - For kids who already use a Sip and Puff control system with their wheelchairs, we offer the same option for driving their cars. They blow and/or suck into a straw-like tube, using a planned pattern, to guide their cars.
- Remote Control-Driven - We can couple any of the drive systems with a remote-control system. These parent-assisted-remote controls offer familiar, RC-style controls, and they can control cars at up to 100’. A remote-control system allows the child to drive when s/he is able and parents to override the child’s controls when needed.
Safety & Comfort Systems
We also build our cars with a variety of seating and safety options, including:
- Padded seat cushions
- Integrated roll bars
- Multi-point harnesses
- A wide array of body supports
- Lots of assistive devices including:
- Gyroscopic IV bottle and line holders
- Feeding pump and line holders
- Oxygen tank and line holders
- Ventilator and hose holders
- Collision prevention systems
- Action challenges (which are fun, toy-like devices we add to the cars to encourage specific movements that our kids need to practice)
- And, more
- In addition, we offer the following features – some on every car and others as needed:
- Kill Switches
- High-Visibility LED Lights
- Rear-View Mirrors
- Rubber-Wrapped Wheels
- Extra Batteries
- Storage “Trunks” for Remotes
- Personalized License Plates
Of course, kids come in every day with new challenges. There is no “off-the-shelf” solution for every problem, and that is not a problem. Our Design Team stands ready to create new when need arises. In fact, most of the solutions listed above were crafted in just such situations. So, don’t worry if you have a child who needs something that is not on our list of features. We will work with you to find a solution.
Coming Soon! Our Next Generation Car
We are working on our first, made-from-scratch vehicle that will allow us to serve older and taller kids. It will also allow our kids to drive their new vehicles indoors as well as outdoors. This new design:
- Will accommodate kids up to at least 180 lbs. in weight
- And, up to 60" in height
- Feature an open front to allow for longer legs
- Will travel over uneven surfaces
We have completed several prototypes, and they show great promise. We just have a few more speed bumps to overcome before we are ready to get the new vehicle on the road: We have to raise the money to build several full-scale test models, and we have to find a new workshop with the ventilation needed to allow us to weld. Stay tuned for news!