Lexus builds a unique car for a child with cerebral palsy

The collaboration between Lexus and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation celebrates National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month in March in the United States.
By : Sabyasachi Dasgupta
| Updated on: 09 Mar 2020, 12:54 PM
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Lexus
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Lexus
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Lexus
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Lexus

Lexus and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation joined forces to create a one-of-a-kind children's vehicle, inspired by children with cerebral palsy. The collaboration combines the human-centered Lexus design philosophy with the CPF's mission to improve the lives of people with cerebral palsy and open a world of possibilities.

"People with cerebral palsy rarely receive the interventions and support they need at the time they need them," said Rachel Byrne, CPF executive director. "Our mission is to change that paradigm and be a catalyst to create positive change through collaborations and innovative partnerships."

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For children with cerebral palsy, one of the biggest challenges is being able to participate in their environment and play like other children.

"At Lexus, our essential design philosophy has always been human-centered," said Cooper Ericksen, Lexus Group Vice President in charge of strategy and product planning. “We create vehicles around the art and science of human needs. In this case, we wanted to transcend the limits and explore what it could mean for a child with cerebral palsy who has not been able to experience the joy of mobility like other children."

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Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Lexus
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Lexus
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Lexus
Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Lexus


The children's vehicle was shown to its recipient, Finley Smallwood, in March, a month also designated as National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Together, Lexus and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation identified specific mobility challenges facing children with cerebral palsy, and Finley in particular.

As it may be difficult for Finley to sit for long periods, modifications were first made to the seat, adding padding on the side to have a lateral support around his waist, along with an adjustable headrest and a five-point harness. Your custom children's vehicle also brings an enlarged door and a reduced chassis height to facilitate entry and exit.

Many children with cerebral palsy do not have the strength to grasp and turn the steering wheel continuously for a given period, and mobility problems can make the use of a pedal impossible. Adding something as simple as a joystick on the armrest allows Finley to control the direction and acceleration of the vehicle without having to pedal or hold a steering wheel for an extended period, which gives him the freedom to drive like any other child. .

"Oh, and we painted the body purple," Ericksen said. "Because that is Finley's favorite color."

"These modifications will have an impact on the life of a special girl," Ericksen added, "and they are also one more step to open a door to exploring the vast possibilities of human-centered design."

First Published Date: 09 Mar 2020, 12:54 PM IST
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