Keep Moving Forward.
The Challenge to QL+ students from The Catholic University of America is to create a Breakaway for Prosthetic Leg for our Challenger, a retired Army Major, named Peter Way. In 2003, while serving, a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) injured his right leg. Due to the shrapnel and dirt from the RPG, he suffered multiple infections and endured 24 surgeries. In 2015, he elected to undergo a right leg-above-the-knee amputation to lessen infection and improve function. He had osseointegration surgery in Feb 2019.
He’s been an avid mountain biker since 1986. Since his injury, but before osseointegration surgery, he rode a mountain bike, an off-road handcycle, and a two-wheel bike. Since he had osseointegration surgery, his bike leg is not compatible. Mountain biking is an integral part of our Challenger’s quality of life. The Challenge is to create a functional and safe breakaway system for his prosthetic leg so our Challenger can continue engaging in the activities he loves.
QL+ Teams have been working hard all school year and then COVID-19 changed everything. The universities and labs closed, and many of the students went back to their respective homes. This new normal has not stopped our teams from their work. They are adapting and doing what they can to complete their project.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Catholic University of America canceled in-person classes for the remainder of the spring semester. Students living on campus had to move back home, making access to testing equipment nearly impossible. We were unsure as to how we could continue making headway on our project with these new restrictions.
Luckily one of our team members, Chris Cupo, brought a 3D printed device home with him to keep the testing moving forward. He created an at-home test set-up with PVC pipes and buckets of water to receive data for different types of loads. With this new data, he was able to find weaknesses in the current prototype and using SOLIDWORKS, created a new prototype. Once we modified the design, Ashley Sieber was able to find contacts to 3D print and mail us the new prototype in our usual ABS material with the help of Dr. Springer and QL+ President and Founder Mr. Jon Monett. Through online sources and Simscale, Mariangelica Bermudez was able to create a finite element analysis to decide what material would be best for the final design and where the weak points of the design would be. Ann Vogel has been keeping in close contact with our challenger, Peter Way, to receive feedback and to make sure he is happy with our designs via email and text. Through Zoom meetings and group chats, we have been able to keep in close contact with each other.
We are currently in the process of getting our device 3D printed in metal. It will be mailed to Chris Cupo where he will continue the testing. We are very proud of the progress we have been able to make in these difficult times and are thankful for the help and support we have received from Quality of Life Plus.
Congratulations, Team, on winning the award for the "Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation" at The Catholic University's Research Day!
Americans are experiencing extremely uncertain and difficult times. During this period, the Quality of Life Plus (QL+) board and staff want to share with you the steps we are taking to meet our responsibilities to our donors and our Challengers -- the wounded and disabled veterans and first responders with whom we are working at our partner universities around the nation.
It is important that QL+ continues and, wherever possible, completes its work.