Dad Builds Electric Stroller for Special Needs Daughter

Electric Bike

A letter from Casey Evans to Electric Bike Technologies, makers of the E-BikeKit™ electric bike conversion kit system. This one of kind adaptive electric stroller was designed by students from California State University-Sacramento using two 500w direct-drive hub motors controlled by a single E-BikeKit system.

Thank you for enabling me to take my daughter hiking!

My name is Casey Evans and my daughter, Montel, was born with a very rare genetic syndrome, Cri-du-Chat Syndrome. Cri-du-chat is a chromosomal condition that results from a missing piece of chromosome 5. Montel’s condition like most cases of cri-du-chat was not inherited but a random event that happened during her early fetal development. As a result of the syndrome my daughter who is a few days from turning 21 years old has a developmental age of about 18 months. Montel is non-verbal and needs assistance with all everyday tasks (e.g. – bathing, eating, dressing, etc.). In addition, Montel has difficulty walking and will only walk approximately 100 yards before she sits on the ground and refuses to continue.

With Montel’s challenges we have struggled at times to find things she enjoys doing. However, there is one exception. We live in the beautiful foothills of Northern California and have discovered over the years that Montel loves to be outdoors hiking with us. We began by putting her in a jogging stroller and hiking the trails near where we live. As Montel grew older so did our creativity in ways to take her hiking. At first we simply put a booster seat in the jogging stroller. But soon she outgrew that too. So we purchased a stroller that was supposedly for hiking but it proved to be an inadequate design for the aggressive trails that we liked to hike. So, we built a custom built oversized jogging stroller. But as Montel grew older and weighed more, pushing her up hills became too grueling and impractical. I realized the ideal would be an off-road stroller with power assistance

I knew engineering a stroller with electric motors, suspension system, disc brakes and all of the other features necessary to satisfy my requirements was way beyond my expertise. So I began grappling with how to get something like this done. I wondered if this would be a project engineering students could do. So I contacted several universities to see if perhaps engineering students would be able to help. To my joy and surprise I was contacted by California State University, Sacramento by a professor that felt confident that it was something his students could do for their senior mechanical engineering project.

Several months later I was contacted by the university and told there were 3 groups of engineering students interested in my project! I interviewed each group and selected a team of 4 students that struck me as very capable and bright young engineering students: Franky Lao, Viktor Palamaryuk, Christian Barcena and Allen Duong. We met regularly and discussed the project. They designed the stroller during the fall semester and fabricated it during the spring semester. There were times when it looked bleak, but at the end of the day they managed to make an amazing off-road special needs stroller for my daughter. One of the major turning points was when they figured out how to make the E-BikeKit motors work in tandem on the rear wheels with one battery and one throttle (not recommended by Electric Bike Technologies and NOT covered under warranty).

Thank you to the folks Electric Bike Technologies for making a product that will enable me to continue hiking with my daughter for years to come.

Sincerely, Casey M. Evans

PS: I struggled with how to handle the fact that we are doing something with the motors that is NOT sanctioned by your company. I wanted to make it clear one should not attempt to do this, but at the same time explain how grateful we are that your motors provide the flexibility for customization if someone has the right expertise. I am so excited to think my little stroller project might contribute in a small way to help enable more people with special needs!!!

Update from Dad 6/10/2014: “I just want to let you know that since we last communicated I have been on several hikes and you cannot believe what a difference this device is making in our lives!!!  No exaggeration this stroller is absolutely life changing!!!  Now I know what the first person who invented a wheel chair must have felt like.  It is so empowering!!!  I can go anywhere I want to now with Montel and her difficulty walking is no longer a limitation at all.”

The California State University Engineering students that build Montel’s one of a kind hiking stroller from the ground up!

From left to right: Viktor Palamaryuk, Allen Duong, Christian Barcena and Franky Lao

Quotes from the team…

“It was a very fun and challenging experience”- Viktor P.

“The best thing was seeing it all come together and thinking about how we started with just a sketch on a piece of paper”-Franky L.