June 24, 2020


Our Innovative and Life-Changing Solutions

Challenge:  Handcycle Prosthetic Leg Carrier
Challenger:  Rosemary Salak, Army Veteran
University:  The George Washington University
Student Team:  Kyle Devine, Jacob Hoffer, Jacob Lashinsky, Amir Latifian, and Karen Ruis
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. David Lee
QL+ Program Manager:  Barb Springer

Project Summary:

Early last semester, the Quality of Life Plus organization introduced our group with a challenge
for our client, Ms. Rosemary Salak. Ms. Salak is a retired Army veteran who enjoys an active lifestyle. However, Ms. Salak recently sustained an injury and now uses an above-knee prosthetic. To stay active, she frequently rides her handcycle, both leisurely on local trails and competitively in marathons. Unfortunately, riding with her prosthetic leg poses various issues. In order to prevent any problems when turning on her handcycle, Ms. Salak must remove her prosthetic leg. Without her prosthetic leg, maneuvering over various obstacles and getting off her handcycle become much more difficult.

While gathering information from Ms. Salak, our group also dove further into the issue of limited storage on handcycles. We learned that not only amputees sought a product to store their medical assistive devices, but other disabled adults such as individuals with lower-limb paralysis were in need of a storage device as well. Keeping these communities in mind, our group began working on a solution keeping one goal in mind. Our carrier aims to optimize the transport of
assistive devices and personal belongings while riding a handcycle.

The three key objectives and functions our solution aimed to achieve was to create a device that
is single user-friendly, water-resistant, and lightweight. Using this as a starting point, we created
three subsystems for our high-level design. An outer shell subsystem to create the shape of the carrier, an inner shell subsystem to protect the inner contents of the carrier, and an attachment subsystem to connect the carrier to the handcycle.

The development process was focused primarily on utilizing the space on the handcycle that would be most convenient and practical for the user, and the rest of the product grew from there. We decided to use a durable waterproof fabric for the exterior shell to protect the prosthetic from water damage as well as provide significant durability. We then attached two rubber pull straps, a waterproof zipper, and a velcro mechanism to permit easy attachment and removal of the device, as well as enhance single user accessibility. In addition to these features,
we decided to incorporate different supportive and protective layers of foam on the inside of the device to provide structure and ensure the prosthetic is kept safe from any damage caused while cycling.

Although we were unable to complete the design process, our team utilized feedback from Ms.Salak in order to outline future steps. We have organized this input into three new features for improvement. These include pockets on the inner and outer shells, alterations to the zipper orientation including a pull tab, and the addition of reflective material.

Throughout the year, our team encountered the inevitable difficulties that the design process provides. However, with the help of our mentors, we overcame obstacles and created the first iteration. In turn, we would like to cordially thank everyone who exhibited such generously through their continual support. Combining their advice with our altruistic drive, we strove to develop a solution that improves the quality of life for Ms. Salak and others like her.

Photo Gallery

No items found.
Calling All Heroes

Become a Challenger

A Student tending to a Challenger.

Calling all Wounded, Ill, or Injured American Heroes and Their Families

If you have an injury or disability and you are a member of the military, a veteran, or a first responder, QL+ has a program that is designed to improve your quality of life at no charge to you.

You can make a difference!

Donate Now!
A group of students helps a man by building a walker