Notre Dame Alum & WW2 Vet Springboards Innovative New Products into the Marketplace to Improve the Lives of the Elderly

Author: Kevin Brennan, Joanne Fahey

At age 94, Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr., ’42, ’47 J.D., continues a lifetime of entrepreneurialism with the founding of the company Rising Improvements.

Judge Robert L

“Last year, after having his shoulder replaced, Miller was told he wouldn’t have the strength to perform certain simple everyday tasks, like get himself up from a chair, for three to six months. Johnson, a petite woman, cannot lift him up on her own. The independent lifestyle Miller cherished was in jeopardy, and he racked his brain for a solution.

He called a friend and asked him to come over to help him build something. They connected two dowel rods with a clothesline. Gripping one end, Miller leaned forward in his chair while Johnson held the other. He easily rose to his feet. Inspired, Miller improved his design with several subsequent prototypes. He marveled at his invention’s effectiveness and wondered who else could benefit from it…Miller then enlisted the help of an engineering firm, Springboard Engineering Solutions, LLC, at Notre Dame’s Innovation Park, which connected him with several Notre Dame engineering students who helped perfect Miller’s design.”

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Springboard Engineering Solutions LLC (SES) is an Innovation Park firm under contract to the University to provide prototyping and other technical services for the Notre Dame Proof of Technology Development Center. Under guidance and direction from SES Managing Directors Kerry Wilson and Bob Sutton, Notre Dame Engineering and Design student interns are gaining tremendous workplace experience, focusing on both projects at Notre Dame and throughout the region.

For more information on the Proof of Technology Demonstration Center, which designs and tests new prototypes for Notre Dame Technologies, please contact Pat McMahon, Technology Commercialization Program Director.