University of Rochester

Student Innovators are Finalists for International da Vinci Award

April 4, 2013

Device Increases Mobility for Stroke Survivors

A student-designed tricycle control system is getting international recognition for its innovative approach to promoting accessibility for people with disabilities.

The MonoMano Cycling Control System, developed by five students at the University of Rochester's Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was named one of the 15 finalists for the 2013 da Vinci Awards.

With the MonoMano system, a rider can steer, brake, and shift gears on a recumbent tricycle with one hand.

"The MonoMano system allows some people with disabilities to overcome a barrier they face on a daily basis," said Sara Hutchinson, one of the student innovators. "It's our hope that they can forget about their disability for a while and just enjoy the freedom of riding a cycle."

The students developed their device as a senior-year design project, under the guidance of professors Laurel Carney and Amy Lerner at the Hajim School.

"After seeing how meaningful the device was for stroke survivors," said Martin Szeto, a member of the MonoMano team, "we decided to pursue the project after graduation."

The five students have started a company, MonoMano Cycling, to market their control system and develop other affordable, adaptive technologies for individuals with unilateral weakness.

The other students making up the MonoMano team are David Narrow, Jackson Block, and Dominic Marino.

The crowdfunding platform Innovocracy made it possible for the students to develop the control mechanism for the marketplace.

MonoMano is a finalist in the da Vinci Awards' Competition for Accessibility and Universal Design in the Recreation & Leisure category. The winners will be announced April 11 at a gala event in Dearborn, MI.

The da Vinci Awards were created in 2001 by the Michigan chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to foster innovation and hope by recognizing the latest developments and research in adaptive and assistive technologies.