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Due to muscular dystrophy Nick Torrance, a junior in high school, is in a wheelchair unable to walk and can’t perform simple tasks like opening his own locker. That is, until his fellow classmates developed a robotic system that would give him back this one bit of independence.
Thanks to the work of two Pinckney Community High School students in Michigan, Torrance is able to wave his hand over a sensor and pop open his locker. Doing this action again shuts the locker. When she couldn’t find a device to help Torrance out with this dilemma over the Internet, she enlisted robotics teacher Sean Hickman and seniors Micah Stuhldreher and Wyatt Smrcka to help.
Through trial and error and working with Torrance, the seniors, who won first place at the SkillsUSA robotics competition in 2012, developed a system that not only helps Torrance but could help other disabled students as well. Stuhldreher and Smrcka won a $1,500 minigrant from the Society of American Military Engineers to make more robotic lockers for other disabled students.