Adapting a Ride-On Electric Toy Car for use by a Child with Rett Syndrome as a Low-Cost Therapy Device

Authors: Aya Nakayama, Colleen J Evans

Advisor: Dr. Jayesh Bhakta

Building off of the work started by the GoBabyGo program, a commercially available ride-on child's toy was adapted for a child with Rett syndrome. This involved creating a motor speed control and modifying the controls of the vehicle so that the pedal motor control was moved to the steering wheel into paddle switches to encourage the use of the hands. An Arduino was used to sense the motor speed via motor back EMF and speed control was achieved using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). A monitoring circuit was implemented in the speed control circuit to significantly reduce the likelihood of prolonged, unintended motor operation under device failure. Further modifications were made to make the car more interactive for the child to assist in communication and to increase engagement with the child’s environment. The design of the customized features and an evaluation of the final car is presented.