Sun. Oct 1st, 2023
    Torbotics 2080 Creates Custom Supportive Arms for Girl with Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    Torbotics 2080, a FIRST Robotics Team from Hammond High Magnet School in Louisiana, has designed and created a supportive device for 5.5-year-old Mackenzie Burleson, who was born with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). SMA is a genetic neuromuscular condition that causes muscle weakness and loss of functioning. Mackenzie’s parents reached out to Torbotics with hopes of finding a device that could support her arms and potentially help her develop additional muscular strength.

    Despite searching for a suitable device on the market and seeking assistance from healthcare and academic institutions, the Burlesons were unable to find a solution that met Mackenzie’s specific needs. They turned to Torbotics, known for their community outreach and development focus, for help. The team eagerly accepted the challenge, combining their knowledge of biomechanics, 3D fabrication, and design to create a custom prosthetic for Mackenzie.

    The students and their lead coach, Jean Williams, conducted extensive research and in-depth studies of anatomy and physiology to design each joint of the prosthetic. Seniors Jaime Alverado and Brayden Puls led the initial design, with Jaime returning after graduation to assist with final adjustments and testing. Freshman Jillian Williams took over the CAD design and assembly, adding decorative elements to showcase Mackenzie’s personal style.

    After 14 months of hard work, including multiple iterations and countless hours of design and prototyping, Torbotics presented Mackenzie with her fully functional set of “robot arms” on July 13th. Mackenzie and her family were incredibly grateful for the team’s efforts, and Mackenzie’s therapist noted that working with the arms for two hours during a test run was the longest she had ever spent using her arms without fatigue.

    The Torbotics team is proud of their accomplishments and grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in Mackenzie’s life. They are committed to continuing their involvement, making any necessary modifications, and supporting Mackenzie for years to come. This project has not only impacted the team members but also the broader community, inspiring others and showcasing the power of innovation and compassion.

    – Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA): A genetic neuromuscular condition that causes muscle weakness and loss of functioning.
    – FIRST Robotics: A program that inspires students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
    – Torbotics 2080: FIRST Robotics Team from Hammond High Magnet School in Louisiana.
    – Hammond High Magnet School: A school with a strong engineering program and a focus on community outreach and development.