June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.806.1 - 13.806.9
Introducing Universal Design Concepts in an Interdisciplinary Laboratory Project Abstract
Design for individuals with disabilities has been used by many institutions as a way to teach the design process to undergraduate students. These design projects often involve the design of an assistive device for a single individual to facilitate a particular task. The departments of biomedical engineering and industrial engineering at Western New England College have further developed an interdisciplinary laboratory design experience that involves the design of assistive technologies for workers performing light manufacturing work at Goodwill Industries of the Springfield/Hartford Area, Inc. Rather than focus on the design of assistive technology to increase the participation of a single worker with disabilities, students were tasked to develop devices to modify steps in a manufacturing process in an effort to maximize the number of workers with disabilities able to participate in each of the manufacturing steps. To facilitate the design process, biomedical and industrial engineering students were introduced to the concepts of universal design, the primary tenet of which is that products should be designed so that they can be used by the greatest number of consumers.
Many institutions have used the design of assistive technologies for individuals with disabilities as a method by which students learn the design process. Such design experiences commonly occur in first year introduction to design courses 1, 2 and capstone design courses. 3, 4, 5 Faculty members in biomedical engineering and industrial engineering at Western New England College have previously described a 5-week design experience,6 based on the NISH National Scholar Award for Workplace Innovation & Design,7 that provided an opportunity for students to design assistive technologies for workers with disabilities at Goodwill Industries of the Springfield/Hartford Area, Inc., a local nonprofit agency performing light manufacturing work. These projects were completed in interdisciplinary teams as requirements in senior biomedical engineering and industrial engineering laboratory courses, rather than in the formal capstone design courses for each of the departments. A description of the second offering of this design experience is the subject of this paper.
The design experience has been modified in several ways. First, the experience spanned the entire semester, rather than a 5-week segment. Students in the biomedical engineering and industrial engineering senior laboratory courses (BME 405 Biomedical Engineering Senior Laboratory and IE 428 Industrial Design Laboratory III) participated on interdisciplinary teams for the design and development of the assistive devices in parallel with other assignments in their respective laboratory courses. Industrial engineering students in IE 428 also performed experiments on material handling, capacity planning, and line balancing, while biomedical engineering students also designed and performed physiological case-control studies as a component of BME 405. Secondly, because the goal of the NISH National Scholar Award is to foster innovation in the design of assistive technologies to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in the workforce, it was important in the design to incorporate features that could maximize the number of workers able to participate in the manufacturing
Cezeaux, J., & Keyser, T., & Haffner, E., & Kaboray, A., & Hasenjager, C. (2008, June), Introducing Universal Design Concepts In An Interdisciplinary Laboratory Project Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4037
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