Team-Based Design of Assistive Technology Devices

Grants and Contracts Details


Design and development of assistive technology devices that satisfies the needs of persons with disability, and hence not abundant by the user, require an understanding of the social, ethical, environmental, and technical challenges associated with design and use of assistive technology devices. We propose a unique educational program aimed at enabling undergraduate biomedical engineering students to design such assistive technology devices. Implementing two undergraduate courses, a summer clinical immersion and several community immersion activities, the program will achieve three specific aims: 1) enable identification of assistive technology device needs through clinical and community immersion experiences, 2) understanding challenges associated with adoption of an assistive technology device, and 3) provide a multidisciplinary team- based design experience. The program will be offered in a partnership between the University of Kentucky F. Joseph Halcomb III MD, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Human Development Institute. Each cycle of the program will take one year and will start with a spring semester course on social, technical, ethical, and economic challenges associated with design and use of assistive technology devices. With the Human Development Institute as a program partner, participating students will be able to complete several community immersion activities as a part of this course wherein they will closely observe the interactions between practitioners, persons with disability and their family members. A summer clinical immersion will also be offered as a part of the proposed program wherein 12 undergraduate engineering students (10 from biomedical engineering program) will complete 200 hours clinical observation at a local rehabilitation hospital. Participants will be expected and helped to identify unaddressed assistive technology device needs during the clinical and community immersion experiences. Biomedical engineering solutions are then designed and prototyped for select identified needs by team of biomedical undergraduate students during the last component of the proposed program. A special consideration will be given to user needs when guiding student teams. The proposed educational program will be led by a team of three program directors with complementary engineering, clinical, and community expertise who have piloted a successful run of the proposed program during the 2019-2020 academic year. Participation of non-engineering students, particularly graduate students from Department of Physical Therapy and Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, will be facilitated by assistance of our program faculty from these respective departments. Training biomedical engineering workforce that is capable of identifying and addressing unaddressed assistive technology device needs of our local communities, our long-term educational goal is to help alleviate the socioeconomic and the education status of both participating students and the target population with disability.
Effective start/end date4/1/2112/19/22


  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Develop: $82,716.00


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