University of Colorado Engineering Students Design A Swimmer Lift for the Travis Mills Foundation


For additional information contact:

Amber Humphrey

(270) 348-0103


The Quality of Life Plus Program and University of Colorado-Boulder Collaborate on a Swimmer Lift to aid disabled Veterans

McLean, VA- Quality of Life Plus (QL+), a non-profit organization headquartered in McLean, VA, sponsored a capstone project at the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU-Boulder) that will dramatically improve disabled veterans’ quality of life.

CU-Boulder Engineering students designed and built a “Swimmer Lift” as their capstone project for the Travis Mills Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting recalibrated veterans and their families through long-term programs that help them overcome physical obstacles, strengthen their families, and provide well-deserved rest and relaxation.

In June of 2017, the Foundation opened a 17-acre retreat in Maine, focusing on recalibrated veterans and their families.  There are many amenities at this retreat, including a nearby lake for veterans and their families to use to rehabilitate, relax, and reconnect.  An ongoing issue for the Foundation has been the transport of disabled veterans, into and out of the lake via a floating dock.

 Although there are many swimmer lifts on the market, none of them work for the Foundation due to overall weight, an extensive system footprint, mounting complications, and power outputs.  The students had to satisfy several requirements for this project to be successful.  The most essential need they had to meet was for the lift to be accessible for all people.  It had to have a small footprint, be relatively light, it must be safe, easy to operate, and it must require only minimal strength from the user to operate it.

QL+ student engineers develop novel technical solutions to assist and improve the quality of life for our wounded veterans and first responders.

“QL+ provides challenges for senior design and engineering students, allowing them to work directly with our wounded veterans, harnessing technology and common-sense engineering practices to improve their daily lives,” said Quality of Life Plus Founder Jon Monett. “The Travis Mills Foundation’s participation in the program is invaluable. This project is allowing our engineering students to focus their passion and talent on helping our nation’s heroes. They are helping us build better engineers.”

Former Army Staff Sergeant, Travis Mills is the founder of the Travis Mills Foundation.       While serving his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, he was critically wounded by an improvised   explosive device, resulting in the loss of both legs and arms.  Mills inspires many people with his positive attitude and resilience and his Foundation helps many veterans and their families.

The student team began working on this project in September of 2018.  They are proud of their work and shipped the device to Maine this week.

“We work with engineering programs that are respected globally,” Monett added. “QL+ is excited to work with the CU-Boulder.  We are very impressed with the faculty support and the students working on this project.  They are dedicated and passionate about the work, and it shows.”

Throughout the academic year, QL+ mentors, monitors, and supports the collaboration between the veterans and the student teams.  After the academic year, the student teams formally present the completed assistive device or modified hardware to the veteran for use in their daily life.  Each project is unique, and the innovations created to give the veterans the confidence and independence to engage in the activities they enjoy.  While these assistive devices are tailored to the needs of the individual participating veteran, the solutions frequently help other injured veterans.

QL+ is headquartered in McLean, Virginia with its major lab at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, California.  It also has a dedicated lab at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.  Established QL+ programs also operate at Virginia Tech, Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, Ohio University, San Diego State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, and the University of Colorado, Boulder.  In the Fall, George Washington University and Norwich University will be joining the QL+ Family.

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QL+ Bio: The mission of QL+ is to foster and generate innovations that aid and improve the quality of life of those who have served our country.  We challenge University students to create novel solutions to improve the lives of Veterans, first responders, and service members.

QL+ Contact:

 Amber Humphrey, Midwest Program Manager, and Communications Manager