June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Design in Engineering Education
13.521.1 - 13.521.17
Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Individuals with Disabilities
This paper describes the experience of the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) at The University of Toledo (UT) during the past fourteen years in introducing engineering students to Assistive Technology. This is done during the course of the ME Senior Design projects when students custom design devices for individuals in the community with physical disabilities. The goal of these projects is to assist individuals with disabilities so they can enjoy life and realize their maximum potential. Furthermore, these projects significantly enrich the education of engineering students through the experience of designing and building devices to meet a real need; students also get feedback on how well the device satisfies that need. These projects are aimed at designing and constructing devices that will allow disabled individuals to improve the quality of their life without suffering from the associated financial burdens. Accomplishing these projects also provides support for an educational infrastructure that allows students to enhance their understanding of physiological, environmental, and biomechanical factors that influence aimed at enhancing quality of life. Students also have the opportunity to present their products to their peers—most of these projects are presented by students at local, national and international ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America) meetings—and to publish their work in peer-reviewed publications. Finally, these projects also provide the ME Department with an opportunity to offer a unique service to the local community.
Description of the Senior Design Course in the Mechanical Engineering Department:
The catalog description of the ME Senior Design course is provided in the 2006-2008 catalog of the University as follows1:
“Students work in teams using knowledge gained in earlier courses to solve real design, manufacturing, and operational problems relevant to industry. Oral and written communications with participating companies, as well as teamwork, are stressed. Other topics include patents, product liability, safety, ethics, and design for manufacturing.”
Class meetings, participation, and role of Course Director and Project Technical Advisor:
One faculty member serves as Course Director and is in charge of all administrative aspects of the course, including identifying the projects to be conducted by the students. Each group is supervised by a Faculty Advisor (Project Technical Advisor) and a Client Advisor. The Project Technical Advisor and the Client Advisor meet with their groups on a weekly basis.
Activities during the class meetings may typically include lectures and guest lectures on topics such as the design process, creativity, product liability, patents, and the business world. The frequency of the class meetings is determined by the Course Director. Attendance is taken at the
Hefzy, M. S., & Pourazady, M., & Afjeh, A. A. (2008, June), Engineering Senior Design Projects To Aid Individuals With Disabilities Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3598
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