Project Examples

Design and Manufacture Assistive Technology Devices

Course: 22.201 Design Lab I, 22.202 Design Lab II I
Semester: Fall 2005, Fall 2006. Spring 2006, Spring 2007, Spring 2008
Instructor: Robert Parkin and Byungki Kim
Partner: Individuals with Disabilities

22.201 Design Lab I - Fall 2005 and Fall 2006

Students each identified a relative, or a friend, or communicated with the Assistive Technology Program (ATP) to locate a client with a disability. Then each identified individual with a disability partnered with a student to specifically identify a challenge related to each individual’s respective everyday activities. Students then designed and tailored devices to assist each client or individual. Individuals and their families and or caretakers reviewed design solutions and provided feedback on student designs and solutions.

Examples of student projects in Design Lab I included: developing specially designed bed rails for a mentally and physically challenged person, designing an artificial leg for a client, developing a special PC communication board for a friend, and specialized designs for a student’s grandmother. The course emphasis was on introducing the use of computer aided design tools in the engineering problem solving process. Assigned design projects required the use of both wire frame and solid modeling tools. Lecture and lab activities were used to support project requirements, and to provide more in-depth understanding of computer aided engineering design and drawing.

Course objectives met by S-L project:

  • Introducing the use of computer aided design tools in the engineering problem solving process
  • Design projects requiring the use of both wire frame and solid modeling tools
  • Lecture and lab activities used to support project requirements
  • Provided more in-depth understanding of computer aided engineering design and drawing

Community objectives met by S-L project:

  • Student designs and products provided much needed mechanical devices
  • Enhancement of quality of life and communication opportunities for a number of individuals

22.202 Design Lab II - Spring 2006

The project discussed above for Design Lab I was continued throughout the following semester in Design Lab II to further explore designs and information generated during the previous semester.

Sophomore Design Lab students identified a friend or family member with a disability and worked with them to design a device to assist them in an everyday activity. All first semester students (59) identified an individual, described a preliminary design in brief reports, revised their designs, and wrote a final report incorporating technical drawings and including customer feedback. Some designs were implemented by the end of the second semester, but an exact number was not collected. Three known projects were an aluminum flip-top opener (machined aluminum in machine shop), a wooden handrail (installed for a student’s grandmother,) and a plastic bracket to hold a communication device (Chat PC) worked on by the Senior Plastics Design students in the 26.418 course below.

This was an introductory course in manufacturing processes covering the basic machine tool practices utilized in the manufacturing of a product. The objective of the course was to develop a broad understanding of manufacturing operations and their relationship to engineering product design. Students manufactured, fabricated and measured the accuracy of a mechanical assembly from design drawings, using lathes, milling machines, drill presses and other conventional processes.

Learning objectives met by the S-L project were for students to:

  • Experience the design process, including working directly with a customer
  • Present technical information using hand drawings
  • Present technical information in 2D and 3D drawings using SolidWorks software
  • Write brief technical reports using MS Word software and incorporating drawings.

Community objectives met by the S-L project:

  • Individuals with disabilities validated by having an everyday problem taken seriously and having input into the solution.
  • Actual problem resolved in cases where design was implemented.

22.202 Design Lab II - Spring 2007

Bed Rail Design/Rolling Walker Design/Design for Disabled Persons. The students in the Microprocessor I course were given design challenges to improve assistive equipment for disabled persons. The project provided the community and disabled persons with design reports for improvements of existing bed rails, rolling walker designs and assistive tools. Through the S-L activity, students were able to experience realistic design challenges and solutions for disabled persons. The S-L activities also helped to connect the course materials to application and resolution of real world problems. The design reports-building of good designs is planned to be continued in other classes.

Learning objectives met by the S-L project were for students to:

  • Course provided students with real-world design experience
  • Connect course materials to solve real world problems

Community objectives met by the S-L project:

  • The community will provide the disabled patients with a better bed rail as designed by the student project

22.202 Design Lab II - Spring 2008

Ten students of this course built and delivered devices, for example an Arm Exercise Rehabilitation Device. This device was made for the rehabilitation of weakened arm muscles (primarily the triceps and forearms). After designing the device, and making engineering drawings for it, the students built the actual parts to assemble the device, therefore having the experience of going through a design-manufacturing loop. Now, the team is preparing a student design for competing in 2009 in a competition sponsored by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA).