NuVu students to showcase urban wheelchair at White House Science Fair

Mohammad Sayed, a current student at NuVu, has always wanted a tray for his wheelchair. He worked with Pablo Yanes, Nuradin Bhatti, and Carlos Alvarenga to design one that suited his needs. (Photo: NuVu)
Mohammad Sayed, a current student at NuVu, has always wanted a tray for his wheelchair. He worked with Pablo Yanes, Nuradin Bhatti, and Carlos Alvarenga to design one that suited his needs. (Photo: NuVu)

Two students enrolled at the NuVu innovation center in Central Square are among the intrepid middle- and high-schoolers who will present projects at White House Science Fair on Monday, March 23.

Kate Reed, a 17-year-old from Cambridge, and Mohammad Sayed, an 18-year-old who goes to Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, were part of the team that used a 3-D printer to build parts to enhance Sayed’s wheelchair during NuVu’s fall session last year.

At the start of the fall session, Sayed challenged his classmates to design parts that he’d always wanted for his wheelchair, but could never find in stores — these included a canopy to protect it against the elements and a cup-holder.

Reed was part of a team that built a 3-D-printed hand-crank system that can propel a wheelchair forward. Sayed worked with his group to build a tray for his wheelchair that would double as a work desk and storage unit for a computer.

hard-drive-teamKate Reed and Nathaniel Tong worked to create a tool that helps propel a wheelchair forward. (Photo: NuVu)

Since the fall, Sayed has been refining the design of the computer stand and storage unit. “The 11th version of the model works,” he said.

Reed and Sayed will travel to Washington, D.C., with their parents and coach, NuVu founder Saeed Arida, this weekend to join some 100 students at the fifth annual science fair.

“It’s always been my dream to meet the president — if you think about it he’s kind of the most powerful person right now,” Reed said.

Arida started NuVu to offer students a studio-like creative space in which they could practice using machine shop tools. “It builds a rhythm of problem solving,” Arida told BetaBoston in October. Students can enroll for sessions through their school or independently.

When he’s not building wheelchair parts, Sayed enjoys Bollywood movies and is a fan of one the industry’s leading actors, Shah Rukh Khan. Reed, who has also created an interactive robot in the shape of her frog at NuVu, plays the cello as part of a three-member band and busks at Faneuil Hall in her spare time.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at [email protected]
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