UVa Team Creates Solar-Powered Wheelchair


May 10, 2013

Five students from the University of Virginia win a competition called Change My Would in One Minute.

The competition is held in honor of Would Cerebral Palsy Day, which invites people with CP, their families and friends to post ideas online for something that could be created that would change the world for someone with a disability

The team from UVa designed and built a solar-powered wheelchair with retractable panels for those with disabilities.

The wheelchair can go five miles per hour for four and a half hours on a fully charged battery. It even has a USB power outlet to charge and use cell phones or tablets.

The chair will be shipped to Turkey, where a disabled man who submitted the idea will be able to use it.

"The show and tell is over, and it's about to be used, so that's the best thing about it," said Duncan McGillivray, a student of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at UVa. "That's what engineering is really about, is to make something, show it off a little, but really bring it to the end use of the person who needs it, or the person that wants to use it."

The team won $20,000 from United Cerebral Palsy, which they donated right back to the organization.

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