Poly project helps boy walk


At an exposition of Cal Poly engineering senior projects Thursday, 4-year-old Nathan Cooper tested a device that will allow him to walk alongside his parents on dirt trails.

Nathan has spinal muscular atrophy and is one of the latest people to be helped by the Cal Poly kinesiology department’s Activity for All project.

Funded by a $125,000, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation, the project brings together senior kinesiology and engineering students to design gear for disabled people to engage with nature.

Nathan’s off-road assistive device, called the Strider, weighs just 20 pounds and will support up to 80 pounds in its suspended harness — making it easy to use.