Stanford Engineers Bring Their Expertise to the Disability Community

Stanford Students with Michael

Stanford Engineering graduate students Mindy Phung and Oliver Boeckel visited Ability Now as part of a project they are working on at Stanford University. The project involves creating a postural support device for children with physical disabilities, with a focus on cerebral palsy, in South Africa. The team of four graduate students with majors in engineering and medicine are partnering with a company in Cape Town that hopes to launch the support device this Fall.

Students with JosephUnderstanding the unique physical disability of an individual is the critical first step in the product development of the device they are creating. After an extensive tour of our center, the students had the opportunity to interact with the participants that have custom postural design features on the wheelchairs they use. The students spent much of their time asking questions about our adaptive yoga and Feldenkrais classes, and were able to sit in on the Feldenkrais class. They were so fascinated by the use of these therapies for postural pain and relief that they plan on coming back to observe the adaptive yoga next week.

As the project moves forward, we hope we can continue to support these remarkable students, who are using their skills in engineering and medicine to help individuals with disabilities.

Showing 2 comments
  • Louise Nathe

    Did these students hook up with us through Alice Wong, who works now at Stanford but was instrumental in developing our assistive technology when she was a teacher at Ability Now (then the Cerebral Palsy Center)? It might be worth reconnecting with Alice, who lives in Oakland.


      We have a meeting with a professor of Adaptive Technology at Stanford on Wednesday. He has been working with these students.