May 30, 2014 4:52 pm
Updated: May 30, 2014 5:35 pm

Saskatoon engineering group designs gift of mobility

Watch the video above: Local engineering group gives the gift of mobility

SASKATOON – A group of engineers in Saskatoon has teamed up with an international initiative aimed at building custom-assisted devices to help those living with physical disabilities.

One local woman was on the receiving end of the first project of its kind in the city.

A plane crash over 36-years-ago left Lynn Archdekin paralyzed from the waist down and changed her life forever.

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Not being able to walk, she had to relearn everything.

Getting access to buildings, washrooms and the simple tasks all became quite a challenge. But what was even more of a task was getting where she needed to go.

“There are not a lot of vehicles there to choose from,” said Lynn.

Lynn’s most recent van had air suspension to help her into the driver’s seat from her wheelchair, but the suspension system freezes up and is unreliable in winter.

After facing multiple mobility challenges with previous vehicles, Lynn ended up making a phone call that would completely transform the trajectory of her travel.

She got in touch with the Saskatoon chapter of Tetra Society – a group of volunteer engineers and designers who build custom-assisted devices to help those living with physical disabilities.

Tetra Society decided to take on Lynn’s challenge as their own.

The society’s Saskatoon chapter coordinator Taukeer Ashraf says he had to find a dealership willing to allow him take apart Lynn’s vehicle of choice, the Mazda 5, to see if the project would even be possible.

Taukeer eventually found the right one – Rally Motors in Prince Albert, Sask.

“Before I even finished my sentence and spiel of who I am, he said, ‘Let’s do this, I’m on board, this sounds like a great opportunity,” said Taukeer.

Around 340 hours of work, allowed the three motors needed to make an automatic sliding door possible and the day Lynn had been waiting for.

“Being able to have a vehicle I can drive in the winter and not worry about is huge,” said Lynn.

Taukeer says seeing Lynn’s reaction was more rewarding than he could have ever imagined and they hope to have more opportunities to assist other people in the future.

To contact the Saskatoon chapter of the Tetra Society, email tetrasaskatoon@gmail.com.

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