LONG ISLAND - A group of students on Long Island has earned a spot in a national STEM competition thanks to their invention, a potentially life-changing device for kids with prosthetic legs.
It’s a magnetized pedal and sneaker attachment to help children with lower-limb loss safely and easily ride a bike.
"Certain designs aren’t safe if they try to get off the bike like if they fall," said one student.
The first of its kind concept was created by a group of sixth-graders in the Oceanside School District. Together they entered a national competition that challenges students in grades 6 through 12 to use their STEM skills to identify and solve a real-world problem in their community.
So, with help from Rob Schulman, a certified prosthetist and the executive director of the Limb Kind Foundation, the students designed a pedal adaptation.
"Every time we’d meet, they couldn’t get their hands up quick enough to come up with different solutions - it was an amazing experience seeing the innovation and creativity from these kids," Schulman said.
The prototype Velcros onto any ordinary shoe and uses magnets strong enough to attach to the pedal while still being easy to remove when needed.
The students who were the youngest group and just one of ten in the country to advance to the finals spent less than $20 on the materials. Teacher Kristin Stea told FOX 5 NY that she is proud of them and the concept they came up with.
"We wanted the child to just feel like everyone else," she said. "They’re already limb different and we wanted them to be proud of who they are."
Between now and mid-April, the team is practicing for the final round of the competition. They’ll pitch to a panel of judges in the City for a chance to win $100,000 and hopefully get the pedal manufactured.