McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University
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VIDEO: Undergraduates Design Scuba Gear for Woman Born Without Arms
She has her driver's license, her pilot's license, and two black belts in Tae Kwon Do, but last year, Jessica Cox decided to take on a new challenge: scuba diving.
Cox earned a restricted open-water certification but faced a unique challenge: she was born without arms, which causes her to lose control of her buoyancy when performing necessary dive operations.
As part of the Design:398 course, a team of undergraduate students, including Andrew Hutton, Tyler Johnson, Henry Petrash, and John Steger, created a new scuba gear system for Cox that includes an adaptive buoyancy control system, an extended low pressure inflator hose, and a new kind of harness.
"This project in particular had that real personal inspirational aspect to it," said Hutton. "And one of the reasons we were so excited to work on it was to design something for Jessica Cox, the user. She's an inspirational person and it makes it really easy to work on a six-month project when you have that inspiration behind you, really driving you to the end goal."