During the 2014/2015 school year, I was lucky enough to have been invited to act as a mentor to a couple of amazing young men, Bill C. and Justin P., in the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Engineering program.
Bill and Justin’s task was to uncover and address real world problems through engineering solutions. They chose to tackle a common backpacking and hiking obstacle: the sprained ankle. Through their research, they identified a need for a lightweight, portable device to allow a person to hike out of a situation, rather than having to be carried or airlifted.
They developed a brace that transferred the load to the leg through the knee and thigh, bypassing the foot, ankle, and calf. This greatly reduces the possibility of further strain or injury to the affected foot, and allows the hiker to walk out on their own.
The young men show great promise as future engineers, and it was an incredible pleasure working with them. I wish them both much success in their pursuit of knowledge, and I have no doubt that they will both excel in their fields of choice.