Challenge: Non-Slip Prosthetic Surf Foot
Challenger:  Dana Cummings, Marine Veteran
University Partner:  California Polytechnic State University, SLO
Student Team:  Sabrina Nelson, Ryan Monjazeb, Gerrit Sperling, and Luis Mata
Faculty Advisor: Jim Widman
QL+ Program Manager: Vanessa Salas

Project Summary:

The Surf Foot project was created to resolve the challenges faced by Dana Cummings, a former Marine, and transtibial left leg amputee while surfing. Dana is a competitive surfer who first picked up the sport after he lost his leg. He currently utilizes a carbon-fiber prosthetic leg when surfing. However, this prosthetic is not ideal for Dana as he often slips while standing up on his surfboard. As such, Dana would like a new non-slip prosthetic leg so that he can further pursue his passion for competitive surfing.
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Our team, which consisted of four engineering students attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, was sponsored by the QL+ organization. Over the course of three quarters, we worked to research, design, manufacture, and test a prototype that would meet Dana’s requirements.

After several months of brainstorming and conceptualizing, we designed a prosthetic leg made from five main components. These components include two pieces of carbon fiber which together serve as a leg, two rubber components intended to serve as a non-slip sole for the prosthetic, and an adapter that would allow Dana to attach the prosthetic to the socket he uses when surfing.
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Unfortunately, due to the closure of on-campus facilities that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, our team was unable to complete the manufacturing and in-person testing of the prosthetic we designed. Instead, we compiled a list of in-depth instructions regarding the planned manufacturing process and testing of our design so that a future QL+ team could complete our project once campus facilities reopen.

Although we were unable to produce a final product, our team is confident that our design will eliminate Dana’s problem of slipping while surfing, thus enabling him to further pursue surfing as a competitive sport.