National Science Foundation—A research team from the University of Delaware led by physical therapy professor Cole Galloway is working on solutions to help infants with walking and crawling issues have the kinds of exploration experiences that help with cognitive development at an early age. Galloway’s research puts infants and young children with special needs in sophisticated mobility solutions that just happen to look like brightly colored race cars and cartoon characters. The approach allows children to “hack” their mobile robots based on their physical capabilities.
The researchers’ NSF-supported work has found that infants can steer the mobility devices earlier than they can crawl or walk. The team is now determining whether early mobility helps advance early social behavior among infants. Through their Go Baby Go! Program, Galloway and mechanical engineering professor Sunil Agrawal are working to create networks providing solutions for children with mobility issues.