Summer 2023 Real Triumphs Graduate
Degree: Doctor of Physical Therapy
College: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Gabriel Ortiz attended college in Boston with the intent of becoming a veterinarian. Instead, his work with a mouse – a computer mouse device, to be precise – ended up defining his career path as a physical therapist committed to changing lives.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Gabriel was drawn to FIU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program through the kindness of FIU staff and students and the extraordinary campus environment. While working on his DPT project alongside professor Dr. Amanda Thomas, he met a young child with a below-the-elbow (BTE) limb difference who was a gamer at heart. Having an avid appreciation for gaming himself and knowing 1.77 million people worldwide have a below-elbow amputation, Gabriel was inspired to make a difference.
With help from freelance engineers, accessibility experts, architects and project managers, encouragement from his professors, and access to a 3D printing machine, Gabriel dedicated his weekends to develop the BTE Mouse. It is a hybrid mouse/gaming joystick for use by people with BTE limb differences and other musculoskeletal conditions to practice control and hand coordination.
Gabriel has presented the BTE Mouse to other nonprofits and physical therapy groups and is using his creativity to keep designing more 3D products. After graduation, he hopes to make a larger impact through product development and management.
By Lexi Lopez
Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences