Cole Galloway's workspace at the University of Delaware resembles a ransacked toy store. There are piles of plastic tubing, swim noodles, stuffed animals, and battery-powered Jeep and Barbie cars everywhere. But Galloway, 48, is a physical therapy professor and infant behavior expert whose lab has a very clear mission: to provide mobility to children with cognitive or physical disabilities.
In 2007, Sunil Agrawal, a professor of mechanical engineering at the university, approached Galloway in a conversation he says went something like this: I've got small robots. You've got small babies. I wonder if we can do something together. It was then that Go Baby Go was born.
The two professors started building power mobility robots by retrofitting battery-powered toy cars, an idea that came to Galloway during a visit to Toys 'R' Us. Unlike electric wheelchairs, which are usually reserved by kids above age three, Galloway's cars can be used in the critical early years of development.