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AmpSurf Surfing Prosthesis

Spring Design Project


The Spring 2023 design challenge is sponsored by AmpSurf founder Dana Cummings, a surfer who is looking for an effective solution to properly placing his prosthetic foot on the board once he pops up. AmpSurf is an incredible organization that EMPOWER is lucky to collaborate with. Check out their website below for more information!

Accessible Musical Instruments

Fall Design Project

Focusing on the application of general solutions, Fall 2022's quarterly design prompt involved creating instruments that can be used by individuals with limited mobility. The designs can be traditional instruments with added modifications, or teams can let their imagination run wild and come up with brand new musical creations. Teams will be judged on their idea's creativity, manufacturability, usability, and cost.

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Achievement House Exercise Facility

Fall Design Project

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Achievement House is an organization with locations across the greater SLO County “dedicated to providing services that encourage and support individuals with disabilities, so that they may successfully achieve their personal and professional goals.”

Using the provided workspace at Achievement House, QDP teams helped design an outdoor exercise facility that features adaptable equipment for those with physical disabilities or limitations.

Check out their website for more information!


COVID Personal Protective Equipment

Fall Design Project

2020 fall quarter's winning team engineered a pandemic-centered sanitary phone case. Key features included a stylus, door-opening handle, hand sanitizer spray, and wallet. The case would be manufactured from injection-molded plastic with a CNC'd antimicrobial brass stylus and door handle. 

Ergonomic Solutions: Working from Home

Spring Design Project

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For the spring 2021 QDP, the Mirror Buddy Team's innovative, well thought-out periscope design addressed a key issue faced by Zoom users: sharing physical documents in a virtual setting. Finding a way to cast physical copies of hand-drafted engineering drawings onto a screen for feedback, the Mirror Buddy Team earned first place. 

Another creative, ergonomic idea, the Health-Yo-Self group designed an interactive chrome extension to remind people to take care of themselves, taking breaks to eat, drink, and move around, while working from home.


AbleGamers Quadstick Controller and Sanitation

Fall Design Project


During the fall of 2019, teams designed a device to connect the Quadstick paraplegic game controller with an Xbox adaptive controller to be used by individuals with limited arm motion.

In addition, QDP teams came up with ways to increase sanitation of the Quadstick controller. The winning team took a human-centered design approach, creating a plastic mouthpiece with an intuitive magnet attachment mechanism.

Spinal Injury Prevention: Wheelchair Posture

Spring Design Project

For our spring 2020 students tackled the issue of poor posture among elderly people in wheelchairs. This project was inspired by Darien Gold, a community member passionate about helping people lead healthy lives and prevent further spinal damage. The winning team developed a unique strapping system that attached seamlessly to a wheelchair.



Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Paintball Wheelchairs

Fall Design Project

In the fall of 2018, we partnered with Gladiator Paintball Park, a local paintball company which hosts events for individuals with disabilities. Student teams were challenged to design a device that would allow wounded veterans to play paintball in a wheelchair. Their devices could be designed for either paraplegic or quadriplegic players. We selected two teams to continue this project, one for each disability.

For more information about Gladiator Paintball Park, check out their website!


Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Paintball Wheelchairs

Spring Design Project


For the spring 2019 QDP we presented teams with seven different prompts to choose from, including designing devices to assist with activities such as playing video games, eating food, putting on clothes, or walking upstairs. These devices were designed for individuals with disabilities like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. The winning team created a simple device that makes it easier to brush one’s teeth.


Assistive Wheelchair Device: Playing a Sport

Fall Design Project

For the fall 2017 QDP, teams were challenged to create a mechanism that would allow wheelchair users to play a specific sport. Potential designs had to take manufacturability, design cost, design complexity, and more factors into account when creating their original designs. Over the course of the 10-week quarter, teams created designs for many different sports, including soccer, golf, ping-pong, and skiing. The winning team engineered a golf club that attaches to wheelchair and allows the user to play mini-golf. Pictured on the right is the team with their final “Swing King” prototype.


Lower Limb Prosthesis

Spring Design Project


For the spring 2018 QDP, teams were presented with the following prompt: design an innovative lower limb prosthesis to assist with a specific activity. Students designed and created 3D printed models of their prostheses for activities such as hiking, triathlons, and swimming. The winning team created the swim fin design, shown here in the image to the left after the team continued to iterate and refine the design. This design was presented at the end of year banquet.

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