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Bioengineering Capstone Design: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Engineering and Industrial Design

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Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference



Publication Date

April 9, 2021

Start Date

April 9, 2021

End Date

April 10, 2021



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To design a successful product that meets to needs of the intended user, experts from various fields of knowledge need to engage in the development process. Unlike industry, engineering students rarely collaborate in courses with other disciplines. This could be due to the logistics of finding the appropriate faculty collaborators whose’ teaching schedules align, concerns over meeting accreditation requirements, or little incentive from the university to collaborate across disciplines.

In fall 2019, two assistant professors, one from bioengineering, and one from industrial design set up an opportunity for their disciplines to discuss design and engineering for two hours. Three teams of bioengineering seniors visited an industrial design human factors course to explain their capstone project briefs. The projects discussed were an automated external defibrillator, a hands-free breast pump, and a low-cost sensory hand prosthetic. The goals were to give the students an opportunity to discuss their disciplines and approaches to user-centered design, and for the faculty to evaluate whether a formal collaboration was viable.

After the two-hour session, each student was asked to complete a brief survey to discuss their impressions on their interactions and determine whether they would like to collaborate through the product development process. Results from the survey showed an appreciation for other discipline’s viewpoints on the design process, and that both the bioengineers and industrial designers would welcome the opportunity to formally collaborate. These initial impressions have encouraged the two professors to begin the process of aligning course schedules to officially develop their teaching collaboration.

(2021, April), Bioengineering Capstone Design: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Engineering and Industrial Design Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . 10.18260/1-2--36288

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