Working with students at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) the nonprofit organization Quality of Life Plus (QL+) fosters and generates innovations to aid and improve the quality of life for those injured in the line of duty.
QL+ encourages military veterans and other public servants who have sustained life-changing injuries to submit “Challenges” through their website. “Challenges” arising from the physical limitations faced by the injured Vets are then transformed into “projects”. Once a challenge is identified and accepted the QL+ team and the Cal Poly students develop innovative solutions that help our nation’s heroes to live, to work and to play.
These achievements have been recognized far and wide. According to Mark Sopp, CFO and EVP of the Fortune 500 company Science Applications International Corporation ,“The organization and the students have made remarkable technological advancements that truly improve the quality of life for our wounded servicemen and servicewomen.”
The projects currently in development are fascinating. One student team is working on a pressure-sensitive glove capable of simulating the sense of human touch. The realistic-looking silicone skin will incorporate tactile sensors to reproduce the lost sense of touch for amputees. Another project aims to research and develop a radar-type system to provide a wider scope and more detailed level of feedback for a visually impaired person.
“It’s amazing to have a direct, immediate impact for the good on the lives of those in need, like our nation’s war veterans.” says Nickolas Butler a 5th year biomedical engineering student at Cal Poly, who is part of a team working on a new prosthetic hand that will give amputees greater functionality and yet will be more affordable than other prosthetic hands currently available.
And it’s not only the injured who are benefitting from this collaboration. Butler says that the real-world design experience he has gained through the QL+ Laboratory has opened many doors to post-graduation opportunities. After graduating from Cal Poly, he plans to continue working on prosthetics and helping amputees live independent lives.
This Veterans day SRxA proudly salutes not only all of our service men and women but also those working for and with QL+.