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Interdisciplinary Medical Product Development Senior Capstone Design

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Capstone and Collaborative Projects

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1013.1 - 26.1013.16



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Paper Authors


Miiri Kotche University of Illinois, Chicago

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Miiri Kotche is a Clinical Associate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and currently serves as Director of the Medical Accelerator for Devices Laboratory (MAD Lab) at the UIC Innovation Center. Prior to joining the faculty at UIC, she worked in new product development for medical devices, telecommunications and consumer products. She co-teaches both bioengineering capstone design courses, including the longstanding core senior design sequence and the recently launched interdisciplinary medical product development course. She also serves as Director of the Freshman Engineering Success Program, and is actively involved in engineering outreach for global health. Miiri received her Ph.D. in Bioengineering and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.S. in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

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Stephanie Tharp University of Michigan

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Stephanie Tharp received a master of industrial design degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a bachelor of mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. From 2002 until 2014, she was Associate Professor, and Program Chair, of Industrial Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Design. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan. She has work experience with Ford Motor Company, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Armstrong Industries, and

With her husband, Bruce, Stephanie presently runs Materious, a design studio that produces discursive and speculative products. They are currently working on a book, Design as Discourse, which seeks to further legitimize and problematize alternate forms of design practice that extend designers’ cultural agency.

Tharp has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and is the recipient of several design awards including Future Furniture Competition Winner from Interior Design Magazine, and Best in Show from Design Within Reach’s Modern+Design+Function Chicago Furniture Now Competition. She has lectured and presented nationally and internationally, and has received grants from Motorola, The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, and the OVCR Arts, Architecture and Humanities Award at The University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Interdisciplinary Medical Product Development Senior Capstone DesignInterdisciplinary Medical Product Development (IMPD) is a two-semester capstone seniordesign course involving students and faculty from multiple disciplines — Bioengineering,Industrial Design, Marketing, Graphic Design, and Medicine. IMPD focuses on applying a user-centered approach to the design of medical devices for the health care sector, and has thefollowing (selected) course learning outcomes: be able to effectively work on interdisciplinaryteams and better understand how other disciplines work and think, develop processes andframework to progress from abstract, high-level problem statements to specific, concrete designprototypes, and learn to effectively communicate to client-partners through oral presentationsand written documentation.While team-based product design is part of the curriculum, formal and sustained interaction withend users to inform the design process is an integral of the Interdisciplinary ProductDevelopment capstone courses. The department of Bioengineering is jointly within both theCollege of Engineering and the College of Medicine, which facilitates student exposure to a widevariety of clinical environments with medical faculty engagement. The course is sponsored byan industry partner, who, in conjunction with faculty, provides problem statements that are ofstrategic business interest. For this reason, all students participate under a Non-DisclosureAgreement. The first semester focuses on early front-end development, including framing theproblem, human-centered design research methods in a clinical environment, and ideation. Thesecond semester focuses on development of design criteria, concept refinement, receivingevaluative feedback from the various stakeholders (clinicians, client, end-users), and prototyping.The IMPD course challenges students to understand the “fuzzy front end” of design, verify theyare developing solutions that will satisfy an unmet need, and experience the iterative nature ofengineering design. This opportunity to work on a “real-world” problem in an interdisciplinaryteam presents challenges that include both logistic and pedagogical. In the third year offeringthis alternative to the more traditional bioengineering senior design course, there have beennumerous enhancements to the process, including an NIH-funded Clinical Immersion summerprogram to provide bioengineering students an opportunity to better understand clinical needsand inclusion of medical students on teams to improve clinical feedback throughout thedevelopment process. This paper discusses the course structure, evolution, and rationale for thecourse.

Kotche, M., & Tharp, S. (2015, June), Interdisciplinary Medical Product Development Senior Capstone Design Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24350

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