Team Member Names: Zixuan Jia, Sean Wilkins, Shannon King, Zipan Liu, Swenja Rohde, Muxuan Chen, Carter Moore
Faculty Advisor: Professor Robin Ott
QL+ Program Manager: Barb Springer
QL+ engineering students from Virginia Tech worked on the Spasticity Hand Brace for QL+ Challenger, Mark Dellinger. Mark is a retired US Air Force Sergeant who had a stroke in 2015. The stroke resulted in limited mobility on the right side of Mark’s body. He has regained some mobility but is still affected by a condition known as spasticity in his right wrist and hand. Spasticity is characterized by continually contracting muscles. This condition makes it nearly impossible for Mark to voluntarily open his hand, causing difficulty in performing daily tasks such as cleaning and cooking.
There are multiple devices on the market to assist those with spasticity, but these devices have not helped Mark. The team determined that the device should be more comfortable, be more functional, and open the hand more naturally than these other devices.
The final design primarily used mechanical force, via springs, to open Mark’s fist. The team designed it for comfort by using a well-fitting glove and thermoplastic molded directly to Mark’s hand and arm. It also allows for wrist angle adjustment as different wrist angles are ideal for various tasks.
Every target specification that was tested by the team received a passing score. However, the team was unable to check the lifetime and maintenance cost due to various complications. The most significant outcome was how Mark reacted to the device – he loved it. He commented multiple times on the comfort of the device, how he could feel it opening his fist, and the benefits of the wrist angle adjustment. Mark now has the device in his possession, and the team is excited to hear updates from him about his extended use of the final product.