Team Member Names:  Amanda Meares, Amy Wilson, Ethan Littlejohn, Duania Evans

Advisor:  Jim Widmann

QL+ Program Manager:  Vanessa Salas

QL+ Challenger, Jorge Segura, is a Marine who was wounded in Afghanistan. After 26 surgeries in seven years to try and save his right arm, he decided to amputate it above the elbow.  The goal of this Challenge was to provide Jorge with a way to cook independently and efficiently with his amputated arm.  This was solved with a functional device that allows him to increase his ability to navigate various tasks in the kitchen.  

Through a detailed brainstorming, concept selection, and prototyping process, as well as several major design changes, the team chose a final design of a quick-change wrist with three separate attachments.  The attachments include a clamp, a sleeve, and a cutting tool.

The quick-change wrist operates in a twist-and-lock fashion, with the wrist inserts mating into the wrist receiver and locking into place with magnets on each component.  The wrist receiver easily mates with Jorge’s current wrist for a quick and easy installation.

The clamp attachment interfaces directly with Jorge’s current body-powered prosthetic arm.  Jorge is able to engage the cable to open the clamp so that it can fit over various sizes of pots and bowls, and release the tension in the cable to allow it to close over the pot or bowl.  Additionally, the clamp is also fully adjustable for different sizes of bowls/pots.

The sleeve attachment allows Jorge to stabilize shallow pans with long handles. The design includes a simple diamond-shaped opening to fit over a variety of pan sizes and has no moving parts for simplicity.

The cutting tool attachment enables Jorge to secure various sizes of food onto a cutting board.

After testing the final device, it met almost all of the target specifications set by the team. The sleeve maximum load was far less than expected, but since the sleeve is designed for stabilization rather than lifting, the 2.5-pound weight limit on the sleeve was deemed acceptable. The cutting tool failed the drop test and shattered since it is made of acrylic (a brittle material). However, since all of the attachments accomplished Jorge’s needs to stabilize pots, pans, bowls, and food on the cutting board, the team deemed these testing shortfalls acceptable.

Jorge specifically loved the quick-change wrist and how efficiently he was able to switch between attachments. The team is excited for Jorge to use his new devices to continue cooking for his family.