Power of Pivot: Students design device to help people switch from cars to wheelchairs


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Team Mean Machine participates in the annual FIRST robotics competition, an international competition that brings together more than 3,000 teams. This year the team, made up of students from Camas, Hockinson and Washougal, were challenged to create a design in the health and fitness category.

The innovation challenge started in January and production started in April.

As the COVID-19 pandemic limited the team’s ability to work in person, students used web-based collaborative software called OnShape, which allows them to work simultaneously remotely without having to download additional software. Harding said it was easy to use, like Google Docs, and the convenience allowed the team to work efficiently.

“The gift of the innovation challenge is that it shows us how we can create things that benefit our community,” Jolley said.

The team has since filed for a patent – a painstaking process that the team says isn’t as fun as other aspects of their production.

“It’s a lot of writing,” Cavill said with a laugh.

“We had to find everything we could that other people don’t have so people don’t copy ours. Because what’s amazing about this project is that it really fills a niche that doesn’t seem filled, ”said Jolley.


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