Challenge:  Gym Hand
Challenger:  An EOD Veteran
University Partner:  Virginia Tech
Student Team:  Patrick Odlum, Bryan Capozzoli, Kris Cleveland, Claire Chin, Eric Egeli, Fernando Paniagua,
Riley Ulven, and, Sal Parente
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Acar
QL+ Program Manager:  Janet Papazis

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Project Summary:

This project is focused on designing and building a new prosthetic device for a wounded Explosive Ordnance Disposal Veteran, who lost three fingers (middle, ring, and pinkie) on his right hand, so he can perform exercises in the gym. The customer referred to as the Challenger currently uses two prosthetics developed by Walter Reed Medical Center, which are originally designed for full hand amputees but adapted for the challenger’s specific condition. The issue with these prosthetics is that they do not properly form to the Challenger's hand.

Additionally, weights or other equipment are hard to stabilize because the hooks used to hold weights are not aligned with the natural grip of the challenger. Additionally, the prosthetic brace is cut in a way that leads to rubbing and blistering under the thumb, making the device uncomfortable to wear
during long periods of time or activities that involve heavy lifting.
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The new device must be safe for the Challenger to use, preventing injury, and allowing him to quickly react to unsafe or dangerous exercises. It needs to be comfortable to wear and allow the Challenger to perform long periods of cardio activity, such as rowing, and ensure that the device is not limiting the Challenger’s ability to complete a well-rounded workout. The device needs to provide the challenger with an unrestricted range of motion, across both the hand and arm. The final product should allow them to perform almost any standard exercise fluidly while remaining tightly secured.

Though there are devices currently in existence that fit nearly all of these needs, they are in large part only designed for full hand or limb amputees, making them useless for our challenger.  While this project will look to draw inspiration from such devices, the main focus is to design a final product that is specifically tailored for the challenger’s condition.