Quality of Life Plus Mission

To foster and generate innovations that aid and improve the quality of life for those who have served our country.

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Those who serve


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Our Challenges

Ice Hockey Prosthetic

QL+ funded a series of projects in conjunction with the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program, which provides recreational and therapeutic benefits to injured Veterans through ice hockey. A study of current prostheses identified various technological limitations for sports use – especially in ice hockey, a high-impact, high-energy sport that requires fluid knee and ankle movement.

Prosthetic Leg Modification

Cal Poly QL+ engineering students designed and prototyped an adjustable below-the-knee prosthetic leg that combines the functions of walking, running, and swimming. The prosthetic they designed was durable, lightweight, waterproof, comfortable, and would not slip off.

Cat Lift

A central focus of this QL+ Challenge is integrating wounded warriors back into the workforce. An opportunity arose to employ a number of disabled Veterans in the clearance and reforestation of a large tract of land near Yosemite, owned by a QL+ supporter. The land has been destroyed by forest fires.

Fog Control Box

QL+ engineering students from Cal Poly are developing a device that will allow those with Parkinson’s Disease to walk more easily and safely.  Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the motor system because of decreased dopamine, causing “freezing of gait” (FOG) symptoms.

Yeager Knife

QL+ partnered with a US Army Occupational Therapist to develop a specialized cutting utensil. This knife is ergonomically designed, with various grip positions, and is intended for use by those with diminished hand, wrist or arm functions. The knife features a stabilize grip, which will reduce fatigue and allow more control and force to be applied by the user.

Fire Fighter Mask

The purpose of this QL+ Challenge was to create a unique self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for our Challenger, a firefighter stationed in San Francisco, California.

Our Partners

Virginia Tech
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Our Challengers

Captain Danny Knutson

Captain Danny Knutson is a Navy Veteran and QL+ Challenger. He served for 25 years in the United States Navy as a Naval Aviator. While serving in the Navy, Captain Knutson’s spine and neck were compromised during an in-flight ejection from a crippled Navy jet...

Larry Gunter

Larry Gunter is an Air Force Veteran and QL+ Challenger. In the Air Force, he worked as an Air Force Crew Chief on a C-130 Aircraft. Larry was diagnosed with Retina Pigmentosa, a genetic disease that causes the degeneration of the retina that ultimately causes blindness...

Velette Britt

Velette Britt is an Air Force Veteran and QL+ Challenger working with student engineers at Cal Poly and Colorado School of Mines. Velette served in the United States Air Force from May of 2007 to July of 2016 as a Dental Lab Technician...

Taylor Morris

Taylor Morris is a Navy Veteran and QL+ Challenger. Taylor joined the military right out of high school and began rigorous and extensive training as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD). He became an expert in explosives, diving, parachuting, and learned the tactical skills of a combat fighter...

Tammy Landeen

Tammy Landeen, Army Veteran and QL+ Challenger, served in the United States Army from 1996-2005 as a Tactical Power Generation Specialist. In 2002, Tammy was injured while on Active Duty, and after her service ended, she suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury while horseback riding...

Portrait by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, All rights reserved

Dawn Halfaker

Dawn Halfaker served as a Military Police Officer in the United States Army. She deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division where she commanded a military police platoon in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, during a combat patrol near Baghdad, she was wounded, which resulted in the amputation of her right arm and right shoulder. She earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for her service...

Upcoming Events


"The ability to tell an engineer exactly what would make life better and have my opinion be part of the design process is exciting and innovative. I’m proud to be part of this amazing program."

~Tammy Landeen, Veteran, QL+ Challenger

"Working with young engineers has been very rewarding. I enjoyed the close contact I have had with the team as they systematically break down my limitations and propose elegant solutions to mitigate my physical issues to improve my quality of life."

~Captain Danny Knutson, Veteran, QL+ Challenger

"The work the QL+ student engineers are doing is greatly appreciated and life-changing. They are taking my Challenge seriously and putting their hearts into it. It shows."

~Larry Gunter, Veteran, QL+ Challenger

"It’s a great feeling to create solutions for veterans and first responders because I have family who have served in the military and I know how difficult it can be for people dealing with injuries. It is very gratifying knowing I’m helping people who have done so much for our country."

~Michael Paxton, Student Engineer, University of Dayton

"The QL+ Program is fantastic. It gives us the opportunity to take the knowledge learned in the classroom and apply it to a specific person and application that could change lives. Part of our tradition at UD is to serve and the QL+ Program gives us a chance to do that."

~John Hageman, Professor, University of Dayton

"Working on the QL+ Project involves a lot of different fields of study. Collaborating with people from different fields to create a solution has been very beneficial to me and will help me in my future career."

~Connor Tangney, Student Engineer, University of Dayton

“One of the rewards from working with QL+ is that we get to work with real people on real problems. This will help us later in life when we are in the industry and have to solve problems in real time.”

~Elaina Finney, Student, University of Dayton

“QL+ has been extremely sensitive to the needs of our students and our faculty advisors. They challenge our students and they bring a sense of professionalism. This is one of the gaps we are trying to fill between academia and their profession when they leave the University of Dayton.”

~Rebecca Blust, Professor, University of Dayton

“Working with QL+ is extremely rewarding as a veteran and student engineer. I’m not just doing something in academia, I’m actually giving back to a group that I have a lot of personal connection with.”

~Steven Reif, Veteran, Student Engineer, University of Dayton

“QL+ has provided us with a lot of support from the very beginning. They encourage us to have fun with the project and design something from the ground up.”

~Jeffery Lecave, student engineer, University of Dayton

“The biggest reward from working with QL+ is knowing that what we are making will help a veteran do the things he loves to do.”

~Mark Wautelet, student engineer, University of Dayton

“QL+ helps us live our mission by engaging our students with society through a partnership that provides meaningful learning in projects they take on with QL+ challengers. Our students receive hands-on experience working on real problems and receiving immediate feedback as they learn the process of rapid development.”

~Gary Lewandowski, Associate Dean, Xavier University

“It's life-changing to be involved in an organization so dedicated to helping the community in such a unique way. Everyone involved in the QL+ projects comes away with lessons learned and a new appreciation for life.”

~Katie Mangiaracina, Student, Cal Poly

“Through the teamwork of dedicated undergraduate engineers, QL+ has impacted the lives of numerous members of our community. What I didn't realize when I initially joined this program is how much I would grow as a result. QL+ has made me a better leader, teammate, communicator, and engineer.”

~Shannon Hoye, Student, Cal Poly

“We work hard to design devices that will change the lives of QL+ Challengers, but Challengers change our students' lives just as much if not more. QL+ has allowed me to channel my passions toward a mission that makes real impacts in real people's lives. I am honored to be able to participate in this mission, and I am beyond grateful for the way QL+ has shaped my college experience.”

~Berkeley Davis, Student, Cal Poly

Featured Stories

SpikeBoarding for All

QL+ Challenger, Rob Jones is a double, above-the-knee amputee and athlete that is committed to pushing himself past any obstacle. When he deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, an IED exploded, and he lost both of his legs. Rob won a bronze medal in the 2012 Paralympics as a tandem rower, ran 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 different cities, and he has also cycled across the United States of America. QL+ students from Virginia Tech designed and built an adaptive SpikeBoard® that will allow him to Stand Up Spike (SUS) without assistance. SUS is “Core Out Your Door,​” which is a stroke that focuses on the abdominal muscles joined with consistent spiking technique, similar to Nordic Cross Country Skiing....

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Nicole Larsen, Cal Poly

Nicole Larsen graduated in December 2014 from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She majored in Mechanical Engineering. Nicole and her teammates worked on the Prosthetic Leg Modification Challenge. Their team was tasked with designing, building, and testing a prosthetic leg that could run, walk, and swim. Their design featured a woven synthetic polymer sleeve that tightened when tension was applied to ensure the prosthetic would not fall off during these activities and a prosthetic foot that could be adjusted into a swim fin....

Where Are They Now? Matt Titchenal, Cal Poly

Matthew R. Titchenal, Ph.D., graduated in June 2012 from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He majored in Mechanical Engineering. Matt and his teammates worked on the QL+ Prosthetic Knee Lift Challenge in 2011/2012. They designed a mechanical mechanism to assist double above-the-knee amputees to walk upstairs. The team developed a working prototype by the end of the project....

XU: Long Pants for Amputees

Above-the-knee amputees have difficulty wearing long pants/skirts because the material from their clothing often gets caught in their prosthetic knees. Currently, there are pants on the market with special liners sewn in them, but this would require the amputee to purchase many pairs of these adaptive pants. There is a need for a transferable device that can be worn by the amputee to protect all pants (and long skirts). QL+ students at Xavier University were tasked with the challenge of creating a transferable device that will not only protect the amputee’s clothing but will also be comfortable, durable, and easy to use....

Cal Poly: Surf Leg

QL+ engineering students from Cal Poly tackled the Surf Leg Challenge. The QL+ Challenger is Operation Surf, a program that teaches veterans how to surf. Current prosthetics do not allow the user to squat due to stiff ankle design. The students were challenged to create a transtibial prosthetic that provides ankle flexibility to improve ankle mobility, while still being lightweight, adaptable, and water-proof....

Mines: Prosthetic Arm Shooting Assistance

QL+ engineering students from Colorado School of Mines were tasked with the challenge of designing and building a Prosthetic Arm Shooting Assistance Device for QL+ Challenger, Jorge Segura. Jorge served in the Marine Corps from 2003 to 2010, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan numerous times. In October 2010, while on a mission in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, he and his team were ambushed. Several members of the team were gravely injured, including Jorge. His injuries included a softball-sized hole in his lower lumbar spine and his chest, in addition to 40% of his right forearm being critically damaged and a ruptured ventricle....

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