John DesRochers is a junior at Rowan University, scheduled to graduate in 2022. John is a Biomedical Engineering Major and is working on the Socket Air Pump Challenge.
Everyday factors such as extreme heat and cold, pressure changes, altitude, bloating, and more, can contribute to changes in the limb size of an amputee. This issue of residual limb volume change has prompted the team to work on a prosthetic solution in the form of an adjustable inflatable sleeve to fit between the limb liner and prosthetic socket. The design focuses on using thin vinyl material to build air bladder compartments that can be controlled via valve-capped hoses accessible outside of the prosthetic.
Question & Answer
Why did you choose your major? I chose biomedical engineering because it seemed like the perfect conglomerate of all my passions and skills. I’ve always had an interest in science and the medical field, yet I’m also mechanically inclined, and love working with my hands and learning how things work.
Describe your experience working with QL+ so far. Working with QL+ has been an excellent opportunity to apply my engineering skills learned in the classroom to a real-world problem. Some of the biggest challenges I’ve faced within the project include learning how to plan ahead and communicate effectively in a long term team-based project, and continuing to adapt to a more online and social distanced environment due to the pandemic. It’s been very rewarding constructing functional prototypes and final designs after months of research, planning, and experimentation.
What was it like working with your Challenger? Did you lean anything from this experience? Our Challenger, Chris Roseberry, is kind, warm-hearted, and has been an absolute pleasure to work with. I've been deeply inspired by him. Despite being burdened with a lower-limb prosthetic, he continues living an active lifestyle, and even spends his time helping other veterans at the Travis Mills Foundation.
What would you say to other students about QL+? A project working with QL+ would be a great opportunity for any student. It is the perfect chance to apply your skills to a cause that is truly meaningful and appreciated.
What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan on attending medical school. With my unique background as a biomedical engineer, along with project experiences such as this, I hope to find new opportunities to help others and give back to my community.
What has been the proudest moment of your college career? Working on this project has definitely become one of my proudest college experiences. It is one thing to learn more and advance my skill set in a classroom setting, but another to get to apply myself to a real impactful project with the goal of bettering one’s daily life.
List three ways you have changed as a person, student, and future engineer since working on this project. Since working on this project, I've increased my skills effectively communicating and working with a team, found a deeper appreciation for the life and opportunities I've been given, and become more inspired to help others around me and give back to my community.