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3-year-old with cerebral palsy given the freedom to move by Quinnipiac team

HAMDEN--Nolan Green was zipping around the halls of Quinnipiac University on Thursday, something that's not typical for the 3-year-old boy.

The Bethany toddler normally needs assistance to move much. He has cerebral palsy, and can't walk or talk.

But thanks to a student and some professors at Quinnipiac, Nolan has quite a bit more independence now!

It's all part of the GoBabyGo! initiative, a national research organization that improves the quality of life and mobility for children with disabilities by adapting toy cars to fit each child's individual needs.

Nolan got his first look at his Minions-themed buggie in July, but on Thursday he met with his "pit crew" -- you know, the fine-tuners on race car tracks -- for the final touches.

The person behind Nolan's new freedom is Rachel Davis, a Quinnipiac senior majoring in pre-med and engineering. She, along with professors Jose Riofrio, Rose Flammang and Michelle Broggi, helped design the car with an accelerometer to match. That device is embedded in a headband that Nolan will wear, and allows Nolan to control the speed and steering of the car in a similar way that an iPhone flips from landscape to portrait view when you turn it.

Nolan's mom, Toni, says he'll use the car at school.

Meanwhile, Professor Flammang explained that it's useful for Nolan to lean the skills needed to operate the car, since they will be essential when he's older in operating a power wheelchair, if he uses one of those.