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.

University Partners



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
Virginia Tech



















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

Tailgate Awareness
October 6, 2019
FedEx Field
Washington Redskins v. New England Patriots
Washington, DC

October 30, 2019
The Brig DC
Washington, DC

Throughout the month of October, the Seabee Historical Foundation will be hosting OktoBEEfest events at breweries nationwide. These events will provide opportunities to enjoy good brews and network with Seabees in your area.

First Responder Mental Health and Wellness Conference
November 7-8, 2019
OCLC Conference Center
Dublin, Ohio

First Responder Mental Health Awareness Summit
November 13, 2019
Central Ohio Technical College
Newark, Ohio

ATIA 2020
Pre-Conference Seminars:
January 28 – 29, 2020
January 29 – February 1, 2020

Join Some of the Most Influential People in the Assistive Technology Community. We all have a responsibility to take part in giving back to the field and sharing our collective knowledge to make an even bigger difference.

Bring your team to ATIA 2020 to: CONNECT with colleagues, customers, and the community. LEARN about the latest trends, tools and best practices. SHARE insights to enhance opportunities for persons with disabilities.


"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

Meet Our Mentors: Raymond Frank, UC

QL+ mentor, Raymond Frank, is working with students at the University of Cincinnati on the Kayak Balance Assist Challenge for Team River Runner, Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky. For this project, the students have been tasked with the challenge of building a device to help veteran paddlers get in and out of kayaks, who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or who have balance issues....

Meet Our Mentors: Jim Riley, CUBoulder, UD, and UC

QL+ mentor, Jim Riley, is working with students at three of our university partners. At the Universit of Colorado, Boulder, he is helping students with the Blind Skier Vibrotactile Guidance. The goal of this challenge is to create a non-verbal vibrotactile remote guidance system for blind skiers. He is working with students at the University of Dayton on the Kayak See Behind Challenge for Team River Runner (TRR) paddlers who have PTSD. He is also working with students on the Kayak Balance Assist Challenge for TRR paddlers dealing with a traumatic brain injury or who may have balance issues....

Challenger Salute: Philip Swinford, Army

QL+ engineering students from Virginia Tech are working on the Enhanced Walker Challenge. Standard walkers tend to be too narrow and too shallow for Philip to balance himself. He can use a standard platform walker but even those have issues with fore/aft stability. Philip attends physical therapy where he has been using a walker designed for use with an exoskeleton system. The walker is both deeper and wider than standard walkers and it has worked well for him. Unfortunately, he cannot purchase it—only medical facilities can....


Ben Berry is a Senior at the University of Dayton. He is a Mechanical Engineering Major and getting his minor in Human Movement Biomechanics. Ben is graduating in May 2020. Ben and his teammates are working on the Power Assist Handcycle Challenge for the Adaptive Cycling Foundation and Challenger, Nick Vogt, an Army Veteran. Often during uphill stretches of long group rides, a handcyclist is unable to maintain the speed of upright bicyclists. Ben and his team are working to create a safe method of providing power assistance to a handcycle to eliminate the issues that have arisen from this problem....


The most inspiring part of my job is that we improve the quality of life for injured heroes. We make a real difference in the lives of our Challengers and our students that will last them a lifetime. Our Challengers get an improved quality of life and our students solve real problems while gaining empathy for our heroes. Everyone wins!...

Challenger Salute: Omar Duran, Army

Omar travels all over the United States, competing in handcycle races. The Challenge for the ​University of South Florida engineering students is to design and build a case that he can use to transport his bike while traveling. The case must be durable, easy for him to use without assistance, and must protect his bike during commercial air travel....

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