Device Increases Mobility for Stroke Survivors

A student team from the University of Rochester has received an international honor for its innovative approach to promoting accessibility for people with disabilities.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Michigan Chapter presented the five-member team with the Student of da Vinci Award at a gala event in Dearborn, MI last night.

The five students, from the University of Rochester's Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, developed the MonoMano Cycling Control System, which enables riders to steer, brake, and shift gears on a recumbent tricycle with one hand.

"The MonoMano system allows some people with disabilities to overcome a barrier they face on a daily basis," said Sara Hutchinson, one of the student innovators. "It's our hope that they can forget about their disability for a while and just enjoy the freedom of riding a cycle."

The students developed their device as a senior-year design project, under the guidance of professors Laurel Carney and Amy Lerner at the Hajim School.

"After seeing how meaningful the device was for stroke survivors," said Martin Szeto, a member of the MonoMano team, "we decided to pursue the project after graduation."

The five students have started a company, MonoMano Cycling, to market their control system and develop other affordable, adaptive technologies for individuals with unilateral weakness.

The other students making up the MonoMano team are David Narrow, Jackson Block, and Dominic Marino.

The crowdfunding platform Innovocracy made it possible for the students to develop the control mechanism for the marketplace.

The da Vinci Awards were created in 2001 by the Michigan chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to foster innovation and hope by recognizing the latest developments and research in adaptive and assistive technologies.