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Engineering Senior Design Projects To Aid Individuals With Disabilities

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Design for Society and the Environment

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.521.1 - 13.521.17



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Paper Authors


Mohamed Samir Hefzy The University of Toledo

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Dr. Mohamed Samir Hefzy is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Administration of the College of Engineering at The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio 43606.

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Mehdi Pourazady The University of Toledo

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Dr. Mehdi Pourazady is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio 43606.

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Abdollah Aliakbarkhan Afjeh The University of Toledo

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Dr. Abdollah Afjeh is Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio 43606.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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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