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Adapted Physical Activity Design Projects: A Collaboration Between Kinesiology and Engineering

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Intercollegiate and Cross-disciplinary Collaboration

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.139.1 - 23.139.12



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Paper Authors


Brian P. Self California Polytechnic State University

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Dr Self has taught in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since 2006. Prior to that, he worked in the Air Force Research Laboratories before teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy for seven years. During the 2011-2012 academic year he participated in a professor exchange, teaching at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. His engineering education activities include collaborating on the Dynamics Concept Inventory, developing model-eliciting activities in mechanical engineering courses, inquiry-based learning in mechanics, and design projects to help promote adapted physical activities. Other professional interests include aviation physiology and biomechanics. Dr Self obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech, and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Utah.

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James M Widmann California Polytechnic State University

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Jim Widmann is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He received his Ph.D. in 1994 from Stanford University. Currently he teaches mechanics and design courses. He conducts research in the areas of machine design, fluid power control and engineering education. He is a past Chair of the ASEE-DEED Division and a U.S. Fulbright Scholar.

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Lynne A Slivovsky California Polytechnic State University

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J.Kevin Taylor


David W. Hey California Polytechnic State University

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Dr. David Hey received his BS and MS from Wisconsin-La Crosse and PhD from Southern Illinois University where he studied health education and focused his research on qualitative measures (viz., content analysis, communication, and ethnography) involving obesity in kids. Upon arriving at Cal Poly and the obesity research center "STRIDE" (Science through Translational Research in Diet and Exercise, a unique opportunity arose to expand and conduct focus groups to explore the barriers people were experiencing to exercise and eating healthfully. For this particular research study David was responsible for collecting and analyzing the engineering student's focus group data on their capstone projects, specifically in learning design. He credits the cross collaboration between kinesiology and engineering as a most satisfying and rewarding experience.

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Adapted Physical Activity Design Projects: A Collaboration Between Kinesiology and EngineeringCapstone design projects have been an important culminating experience for engineers across thecountry. At XXXX, a subset of our projects have focused on adapted physical activity.Engineering teams have built cross-country sit skis, “standing” wheelchairs, Wii adapters forusers with limited mobility, and devices that allow people with disabilities to play Frisbee, golf,darts, bocce ball, and baseball. Teams are often from multiple engineering majors, includingmechanical, computer, biomedical, materials, and industrial engineering. What makes ourprogram truly unique, however, is how we have integrated students from the KinesiologyDepartment in our senior design experience.Students within the Kinesiology Department take a course in their junior year on adaptedphysical activity, and volunteer in the department’s Friday Club. On Friday mornings, athletesfrom Special Olympics participate in a number of different sporting activities with the help of thekinesiology students. In their senior year these students can take a course to serve as a liaisonand team member with the engineering design teams. The students meet with a kinesiologyadvisor each week to discuss progress with their teams, discuss different user requirements forthe adapted physical activity devices, and brainstorm about potential design improvements.They meet with the senior engineering teams, with the users when possible, and often researchdifferent aspects of the design (e.g., maximum forces that someone with a mobility impairmentcan produce).Although the projects have been largely successful, we have had some difficulties fullyintegrating the kinesiology students within the teams. The faculty advisors have largely allowedthe engineering and kinesiology students to define their own roles, but from different focusgroup results it appears that we need to provide more guidance. Additionally, this year we willhave the kinesiology students attend the critical laboratory meetings when the engineersbrainstorm different designs and define design specifications. Finally, we will explore howkinesiology student attitudes towards engineering change as a result of participating in theseprojects.

Self, B. P., & Widmann, J. M., & Slivovsky, L. A., & Taylor, J., & Hey, D. W. (2013, June), Adapted Physical Activity Design Projects: A Collaboration Between Kinesiology and Engineering Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19153

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