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Muskingum University engineering students, faculty adapt interactive toys for children with disabilities


EngineeringIn effort to make a positive impact on their community, a pair of undergraduate engineering students at Muskingum University partnered with a faculty member over the summer on a project to adapt interactive children’s toys for children with disabilities.

Staci Wilson ‘18 and Warren Wilson ‘19, both engineering science majors from Cleveland, worked in partnership with Associate Professor of Engineering Dr. Sandra Soto-Cabán to adapt common electronic toys by adding an additional output that activates the toys so that children with a variety of physical disabilities can initiate the sound effects and interactive features.

“Adapted toys like this are available online but can cost four to five times more than the original. Many families can’t afford that,” Dr. Soto-Cabán said. “By adapting purchased or donated toys ourselves, we can provide something fun for the children, save their families money and educate our students all at the same time.”

The adapted toys will either be donated to local families or to a local toy library for distribution. Dr. Soto-Cabán also plans for her fellows to act as mentors to incoming first-year engineering students and will assist in training the students to adapt the toys themselves.

EngineeringDr. Soto-Cabán’s toy adaptation project is one of several projects undertaken by a group of students and faculty over the summer. The Muskingum University summer fellowship program selects students to work side-by-side with faculty on research and study that will make positive impacts on our surrounding communities and the world.

Known as “Muskie Fellows,” the students selected to participate in the program receive a stipend and University housing for the summer. In 2017, there were seven student-faculty collaboration projects, ranging in focus from Music Education to Biology.

For more information about the project, or to learn more about donating toys or funding for toy adaptation, contact Dr. Sandra Soto-Cabán at 740-826-6137 or ssoto@muskingum.edu.