Team Members: Jon Heier, Delaney Henry, Chanise Hoffmann, Kassidy Knutson, Harrison Koh, and, Averie Mansfield
Faculty Advisor: Susan Anderson
QL+ Program Manager: Court Allen
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.
After seven years and many surgeries attempting to salvage his arm, Jorge decided to have his right arm amputated above the elbow. Today, he continues rehabilitation and therapy, and his goal is to return to pre-injury shooting ability. He is currently retraining his body to operate a firearm via shouldering the firearm at his left shoulder, using his non-dominant left eye to sight a target and left hand to pull the trigger. Breaking the habits of over 20 years of right-eye experience and training is a difficult task for any individual, driving the team to create a working right-handed solution for Jorge.
The primary objective of this project is the creation of an adaptation for his firearm that grants Jorge increased proficiency during extended usage of his prosthetic arm. He intends to use this adaptation for recreational shooting hobbies, including hunting and tactical shooting. The end goal is to design a system that will allow Jorge to operate a firearm using his dominant right side while allowing him to activate a trigger using his left hand.
Based on client meetings and the initial project prompt, the following restrictions, exclusions, and assumptions were used to limit the scope of the project: budget; time; geographical logistics; and, safety restrictions involved in prototyping a firearm on an academic campus. The team considered both local and global boundaries, as well as Mr. Segura’s needs and preferences in order to adequately and realistically constrain our project. The background research required for our project included understanding laws regarding modifying a firearm, possessing and designing components of a firearm on an academic campus, as well as testing a prototype using a modified firearm. We also researched different available solutions that included adaptations for wheelchairs and firearms that were not applicable to our specific project. One potential solution was a sip-and-puff system. However, we determined the versatility of this type of system would not allow Mr. Jorge to return fully to his pre-injury capabilities, and thus the team began to create solutions of our own.
The final solution is a mechanical linkage bar system between the firearm’s trigger and an ambidextrous fore trigger. A custom 3D printed foregrip was created for the end user’s firearm, allowing the additional trigger to be installed and used as part of the solution. Actuating the forward trigger causes the linkage bar system to slide backward, which actuates the standard trigger. This allows the end-user to fire a firearm with his dominant right eye while shooting in a non-dominant eye-hand configuration or vice versa.
The team is very grateful for the Colorado School of Mines Police Department for providing them with assistance pertaining to campus safety as they worked with designs related to firearm accessories. Without the Mines PD working with them, this project would not have been possible.
They would also like to thank the Colorado School of Mines Department of Military Science for allowing them to use their space on campus. Not only did this save a significant amount of time and headaches in the execution of the design project it also allowed the team to gain insight on their work from ROTC members.