Our Partnership With George Mason University


About George Mason University

QL+ Program Manager: Robert (Bob) Wolff, Ph.D., P.E.

Faculty Advisor: Gin Manzo, Instructor, Engineering Capstones

QL+ Mentor: Gabriel Olariu, Grier Forensics

QL+ Project:

HomeValet SmartBox: Many wounded veterans and people have mobility issues making it difficult or impossible for them to leave their home to pick up groceries, medications and, other necessities. The rapidly developing “on demand” economy has been a benefit to these consumers because it allows them to purchase a wide variety of goods online and they can be delivered to their homes. Unfortunately, mobility issues prevent them from answering the door in time to sign for their packages. Medication deliveries typically require signatures. If there are packages that can be left at the front door, people with mobility issues can be sometimes be the victims of theft because they cannot retrieve their packages without the assistance of others. HomeValet is a software system for the secure, unattended receipt of delivered goods at the home.

The Challenge is to design a home delivery receptacle that is simple for people with mobility issues to use. The receptacle must be durable and weather resistant; insulated; tamper-resistant; attractive; it must able to be manually unlocked; it must be battery-powered with a battery backup; it must have temperature monitoring; it must have an indicator light that indicates when the receptacle is locked or unlocked; it must have the ability to be secured to the ground or other structure; it must have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities; it must have an internal camera that is activated upon opening; and it must be large enough to hold 4-6 bags of groceries and a warming plate or insulated cooler.

Faculty Advisor: Ali Beheshti, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

QL+ Mentor: Tim Wren, BSI Group

QL+ Project:

Handcycle Modification: Our Challenger is an Army Veteran whose right leg was amputated above the knee. He rides a Reactive Adaptation Hammerhead handcycle at very high speeds. The three-wheeled custom handcycle is built for paraplegics but is often used by amputees. Riders who cannot feel their legs can tuck them way underneath themselves. The standard knee rest is uncomfortable for our Challenger and other amputees. Raising the seat would alleviate the discomfort but change the balance of the vehicle. Our Challenger also prefers to ride without his prosthetic leg however, this changes the balance of the handcycle to the point that hard left turns at speed are troublesome. The Challenge is to improve the Veteran’s comfort and handling of the handcycle while also maintaining the safety and reliability of the vehicle at high speeds.

Faculty Advisor: Shri Dubey, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

QL+ Project:

Backpack Chair: Our Challenger is a former Navy Aviation Machinist and former Army Combat Engineer. He has Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type IID, a deteriorating, degenerative disease.  He suffers from weakness, some pain, and has difficulty walking. He has a wheelchair, but it is heavy, difficult to get in and out of his car, and so low that it is difficult for him to stand.  He usually uses his arms to push himself up. He would like a backpack with a stool that is bar height, with arm rests, and, a comfortable seat. This seat would be for regular use and the backpack would help him when he is walking or needs to stop. The Challenge is to create a backpack-type chair that is the height of a bar stool. The device must be safe, sturdy, have arm rests, and have a comfortable cushion to sit on. It must also have the ability to add accessories such as a cup holder.

About George Mason University:

George Mason University is a public, comprehensive, research university established by the Commonwealth of Virginia in the National Capital Region, we are an innovative and inclusive academic community committed to creating a more just, free, and prosperous world. The Mason idea – Our core institutional characteristics

  • Innovative = We question current thinking and try new ideas. We honor time-tested academic principles while striving to create new forms of education that serve our students better and new paths of research that can uncover solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

  • Diverse = We bring together a multitude of people and ideas in everything that we do. Our culture of inclusion, our multidisciplinary approach, and our global perspective, make us more effective educators and scholars.

  • Entrepreneurial = We put ideas into action. We educate students to create as well as carry out jobs; become agents of positive change; and add value through government or business, for profit or nonprofit organizations, academia or the arts. We pursue discoveries that can make a difference in the world. We help our community thrive socially, economically and culturally.

  • Accessible = We are an open and welcoming community. We partner with public and private organizations in our region and around the world. We proactively engage with our community. We define our success by how many talented students with potential we serve, not how many we leave out.