Seventeen-year-old Dee Faught was all smiles as students from Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering gave him a robotic arm that fits his motorized wheelchair.
“It will help me be more independent,” said Faught, who lives with his parents and siblings in Friendswood, Texas. “Now that I’m going to get it, I can’t wait. Not many kids I know get to get a robotic arm.”
Faught has osteogenesis imperfecta. Osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic disorder that causes patients to have fragile bones that break easily. As a result, many people simply refer to it as “brittle bone disease.” For Faught, the disease has limited his movement so much that he is bound to a wheelchair — but that hasn’t stopped him from doing the things he wants to do.
“We’ve seen a lot of people tell him he’s not going to be able to do certain things,” said Faught’s dad, Keith. “Dee’s not one to say, ’I can’t do it.’ He’ll figure out a way.”
According to KHOU Houston, the students worked on building the robotic arm for about two years. They presented it to Faught last Friday at Shriners Hospital for Children in Texas. The arm is fitted to his wheelchair and operates with the use of a video game controller-like remote control. It will allow him to pick up more objects and reach objects on high shelves. His entire family is grateful and excited about receiving the new technology.
“It will help him reach into the cabinets and get a cup or something he can’t get to from his chair by himself,” said his mom, Stacy. “One of the things I’m excited about is that he’ll be able to pick up his laundry off the floor.”
Faught plans to attend Houston Community College and has dreams of pursuing a music career in New York.
Watch the video of Faught receiving the arm below: