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Prosthetic Shock Absorber

A cheap, alternative design to conventional prosthetic shock dampening that features recyclable material.

Photo of Craig Icban
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Our product does not reinvent the prosthetic leg, however, our design merely focuses on the shock absorption aspect. Our design features a foam-structured dome with the main shaft fixed on the apex. With each step, the dome deflects inwardly and rebounds thus acting as a functional shock absorber. The shock absorber will be secured within a rigid housing to ensure that, if anything fails, nothing will pose as a threat to the user. This concept has yet to be refined however, that is a top constraint. 

On top of functionality, this innovation will feature recycled materials from Nike’s manufacturing processes which will immensely reduce costs. The EVA foam will play a huge role in this application considering its durability and deflection rate. We will hone in on its functionality if selected. 

We hope to expand this concept to wide scope so that comfort in prosthetics can prove to be a mainstay. Functional prosthetics can be costly which, at times, can be a huge hindrance in obtaining one. We are pursuing this concept in order to lower the overall cost of a high-performing prosthetic attachment. All this is in efforts to improve the quality of life for those who have served and suffered severe life obstacles due to missing limbs.   

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • EVA Foam Injection Scraps
  • EVA Foam Flashings
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Footwear Fiber "Fluff"

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

The rubber outsoles and the EVA foam will all be used to test the variation of flex in the shock absorber. They will be shaped in a similar fashion to observe the best material for this application. We intend to use injection molding techniques in order to obtain the domed-shape. This process will be accomplished through the prototyping capabilities of our university. The footwear fiber "fluff" will be used to the fill the dome-shaped shock absorber to add additional cushioning and functional support. This essentially adds a second-level of damping to the overall chassis.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing
  • Prototyping

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

The disabled and army veterans that have undergone transtibial amputations that wish to regain function with minimal discomfort. Our product will expand this consumer base due to a cheaper alternative for shock absorption. We plan on contacting a multitude of veteran's resource organizations in order to further develop our consumer base.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Once we have a working product, we will approach our QL+ club to see what contacts they may have to the biomedical engineering industry. From there we plan on pitching our idea to various companies to get them to donate or sponsor us so we can continue to work on and innovate our design. When the design and prototypes are proven, we will reach out to prosthetic organizations to facilitate our product into current designs. In terms of obstacles, we believe that the prototyping portion will consume most of our time and effort. The durability and functionality of the idea will take time to perfect before implementing into current industries. However, through professional connections established in our university, we have the resources necessary to progress in this area.

How is your idea innovative?

Traditional gas-charged shocks are the tried and true method of achieving shock absorption preventing forced pain on the amputee’s residual limb. However, this can be costly for the consumer. Our design features a foam-structured dome with the main shaft fixed on the apex. With each step, the dome deflects inwardly and rebounds thus acting as a functional shock absorber. On top of functionality, this innovation will feature recycled materials from NIKE which will reduce costs.

What inspired this idea?

At Cal Poly, the Quality of Life Plus Student Association is a proactive group of engineering students geared towards improving the lives of those injured in the line of duty. As undergraduate mechanical engineers, we are inspired by what they design and build to better the lives of others.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Our team is composed of three mechanical engineering students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: Nicholas Holman, Craig Icban, and Christopher Chen. We are currently sophomores looking to improve the world with innovative designs.

In what city are you located?

San Luis Obispo, CA

In what country are you located?


What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

If our idea becomes a Top Idea, it will help our idea grow into a physical object that we can build and test more thoroughly with the NIKE Grind materials. We will be able to take our idea and test it with amputees. We have multiple ideas we would like to test and by becoming a top idea, we could test and see which one works the best.

Attachments (1)


A simple SolidWorks drawing to further convey our design.


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