Anyone following this blog will have seen me mention Daniel. I said Daniel was the first person to receive a radio controlled toy “driven” by what we now call the Dream-Racer technology.
This morning I contacted The Sentinel Newspaper and asked them if they could send me a web link to the original story, written by reporter Iain Burchell, published on December 24th 2002. Unfortunately no link exists but Sentinel’s Philip Corrigan sent me a copy of the story they published.
Boffins put Daniel back at the controls
Robotics firm design toys so a paralysed boy can play again
BY Iain Burchell
Little Daniel Reeves is overjoyed at receiving his radio controlled car and boat from Father Christmas Picture: Dave Trumble
ROBOTICS wizards have teamed up with a national charity to make a youngster’s Christmas wish come true. Little Daniel Reeves, of Sandyford, was left paralysed from the neck down when he was hit by a car while on holiday in Greece last year. But the five-year-old’s frustration at not being able to play with his toys has now been ended by the Round Table charity and boffins at Rehab Robotics Limited.
The robotics firm designed customised remote control toys for Daniel as part of the Roundtable’s project to make dreams come true for children with life-threatening or terminal illnesses. Daniel can control the model car and boat by wearing baseball hats fitted with sensor equipment, which make the toys move in the same direction as his head.
His mum, Jillian, said he is thrilled by the presents. She said: “It’s brilliant for him to have something he can control himself. He gets really bored and frustrated because he can’t play with any of his other toys. “He didn’t enjoy Christmas last year because he couldn’t really play with anything, so it’s wonderful to see him now.
“He hasn’t stopped playing with the car since he got it and he can’t wait to take the boat down to the lake. “He’s picked the controls up really quickly. He loves James Bond and the car is an Aston Martin like in the films. “We’re very grateful to the Round Table and Rehab Robotics for doing this for him.”
Peter Bone, area co-ordinator for the charity, donned a Santa costume to give Daniel his presents. He said: “His face lit up when he saw me. He’s a plucky young man and we are delighted if we can help to make his life a little bit happier.”
The toys were made by Rehab Robotics’ senior design engineer Mark Heath at the firm’s base on the Staffordshire University campus in College Road, Shelton. Mr Heath said the company, which specialises in rehabilitation systems and medical equipment, hopes to make more toys for Daniel in the future. He added: “It was very pleasing to see Daniel playing with the toys. It’s like an extended arm and has given him the freedom to be a child again.”