While there are parts of the world where intelligent robots are drowning themselves, it’s good to see technology being used for good elsewhere.

In New Hampshire, a group of eighth graders designed and created a 3D-printed wheelchair for a six-month-old kitten named Ray who is unable to use his rear legs due to a spinal condition. On top of that, he was born with abnormally tiny eyes, leaving him blind.

Ray has already grown out of the two prototype chairs, but fortunately he has the Portsmouth Middle School class following him as he grows.

Here’s the story from WGME:

Ray uses his front legs to scoot around just fine, but the wheelchair gives him a fun, alternative form of transportation.

The idea started when the owner’s neighbor, Erin Bakkom, read an article about a similar project in British Columbia. Bakkom teaches at Portsmouth Middle School and wanted to make use of the 3D printer in the town’s public library for a good cause.

Here’s how Bakkom and her team of middle schoolers tackled the project, from seacoastonline.com:

She said, ‘I want to do this,’” Pugh recalled. “She had two teams of eighth-graders who made two complete designs.”

Bakkom teamed with Brian Stewart, the school’s technology integrator, and Barron brought Ray to the middle school to meet the students. They took Ray’s measurements and ended up with designs for two- and four-wheeled contraptions to help Ray mobilize without dragging his hind legs.

Stewart suggested using Razor scooter wheels, the bodies were made in the 3D printer and Velcro straps were added to hold Ray in place. Student Austin Snow made the two-wheeler, which Ray has already outgrown.

If cute kittens are your thing, Ray is now on Instagram @raycatdashian.


About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for SI.com and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.