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Science & Technology

Central Coast Engineering Students Invent Device To Help Severely Injured Veteran

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Photo by Quality of Life Plus
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Veteran Taylor Morris uses the device to hitch trailers to his vehicle

Engineering students on the Central Coast created a device to improve a severely injured veteran’s life.

Navy veteran Taylor Morris has been living as a quadruple amputee since he was wounded while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.

“So, I stepped on a homemade explosive device and lost parts of all four limbs,” he says.

Morris lives in Iowa and hitches three different trailers to his car. But, the task is difficult with only a single prosthetic hand. So, the nonprofit Quality of Life Plus sponsored four Cal Poly San Luis Obispo engineering students – including Eric Ringsrud – to find a solution.

“You learn lots of really powerful things as an engineer. It gives you a great tool set to solving people’s problems,” Ringsrud says.

The team created an adaptive trailer hitch system in which the most problematic steps were modified to make Morris’s life easier.

“Switching back and forth between different hitch sizes was a pretty big pain in the butt before. This definitely lightens the work load. It allows me to do a lot more with the stuff that I have,” Morris says.