Challenge: Military Grade Wrist Brace
Challenger: Active Duty Military Member, Special Operations Command
University Partner: San Diego State University
Student Team: Connor Chaney, Paulina Nguyen, Sophia Nguyen, Tri Nguyen, and Bryan Tan
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Scott Shaffar
QL+ Program Manager: Annemarie Orr
Quality of Life Plus (QL+) aims to generate engineering innovations that aid and improve the quality of life for those who have served our country. The organization works in collaboration with many engineering students across the United States to give them the opportunity to apply their engineering skills to solve real-life problems. In addition, the challenges proposed by QL+ is an honor to take on because engineering students have the ability to give back to those who have served our country. At San Diego State University, Splinter Cell, a team of five senior mechanical engineering students (Connor Chaney, Paulina Nguyen, Sophia Nguyen, Tri Nguyen, and Bryan Tan) worked collaboratively with QL+ to create a Military Grade Radial Nerve Wrist Splint for a Surface Warfare Officer.
In Fall 2019, Splinter Cell began the Mechanical Engineering capstone program at SDSU. The team collaboratively conducted research to learn about radial nerve palsy and the existing hand splints aiding the medical condition. The research into radial nerve palsy and was expedited thanks to Annemarie Orr, an Occupational Therapist of QL+, and LT David Bazan, the challenger who was recovering from the condition. Once the team completed the research phase, the process of task delegation began to assign specialized jobs per member. The team spent the majority of the semester laying the foundation of the project which includes the formalization of an integrated master schedule in order to keep track project’s progress, a list of potential risks, and design reviews. Furthermore, team members who have an emphasis in Bioengineering applied their biomechanics knowledge from a concurrent course to help analyze the preliminary designs.
In Spring 2020, the second phase of the capstone project, Splinter Cell entered the spiral design process. The spiral design process consisted of design iterations based on LT Bazan’s feedback from user-data tests conducted for each design iteration. To manufacture the splint, the team acquired materials such as Nomex fabric, springs, Velcro, etc. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put a major impedance on Splinter Cell’s ability to continue working with Bazan in person to test out the prototypes and halted all manufacturing plans until the end of the semester. Fortunately, before the lockdown order was in place, the team was able to present the newest design with the most recent almost-complete prototype to Ms. Orr and LT Bazan in person and receive feedback from both individuals. During the lockdown, Splinter Cell was able to manufacture the last few components for the newest prototype thanks to Sophia Nguyen, one of the manufacturing engineer team members who have a sewing machine at home. In addition, a couple of team members, Tri Nguyen and Connor Chaney were able to conduct the majority of the testing plan outlined in the test plan with the prototype. This latest prototype was presented for the team’s Final Presentation and Demonstration and will be presented during the virtual SDSU Senior Design Day.