Everyday Heroes Who Used Robotics to Help a Classmate

Two engineering students help a classmate in need.

teens by locker
Andy Doupe/Courtesy Sean Hickman
BETWEEN CLASSES at Pinckney Community High School in Pinckney, Michigan, junior Nick Torrance, 17, steers his electric wheelchair to his locker and waves his hand over a sensor on the arm of the wheelchair. A few seconds later, the locker door swings open. The one-of-a-kind device didn’t cost the school a penny. But it did take a year’s worth of work by robotics whiz kids Micah Stuhldreher and Wyatt Smrcka, who were classmates of Nick’s.

The school’s occupational therapist, Amy Uphouse, and robotics teacher, Sean Hickman, recruited Micah and Wyatt to help Nick, who has muscular dystrophy and is largely immobile.

Micah and Wyatt, both seniors at the time, were eager to work on the device. “Before even giving it much thought, we took the locker door to the robotics lab,” says Micah. For an hour each school day, the boys brainstormed, built, and rebuilt various versions of the device until they landed on the perfect solution. Their automatic locker opener consists of a motor and an electromagnet triggered by the sensor on Nick’s wheelchair. “The first time he used it was a really good moment,” says Micah.

Nick’s mother, Jean Torrance, says the device has given her son independence.

Wyatt and Micah are now engineering students at Lake Superior State University in Michigan, but other Pinckney robotics students will continue to replicate and improve the device. “Two more kids will receive one,” says Amy. “Every student should be able to open his own locker.”

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.