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Reaching Out To A Nontraditional Capstone Sponsor: Design Of A Universal Eye Speculum With Vibrational Anesthesia

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

DEED Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1006.1 - 14.1006.18



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Paper Authors

author page

Laura Ruhala University of Southern Indiana

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

Reaching out to a Non-Traditional Capstone Sponsor: Design of a Universal Eye Speculum with Vibrational Anesthesia Abstract

In these days of universities encouraging interaction between students and the community, faculty members sometimes need look no further than their own personal lives to find such opportunities. This professor was undergoing a simple ophthalmological procedure when she noticed the discomfort related not to the procedure itself, but to the eye speculum used to hold back her lashes during the procedure.

Discussions began immediately with the ophthalmologist regarding the causes of the discomfort and other limitations of what appeared to be a simple, mechanical device; from these discussions a senior capstone design project was proposed. The goal of the project was to design a universal eye speculum that could be used with a wide variety of eye shapes. Vibrational anesthesia was also incorporated into the speculum.

The majority of discomfort was found to occur while the eye speculum was being actuated. To alleviate this problem, a universal eye speculum was designed to incorporate product benefits such as enhanced ergonomic motion and vibrational anesthesia, with a special focus on variable eye shapes. The speculum was divided into major components that were individually analyzed. Key items, such as effectiveness, ergonomics, cost, and manufacturability were weighed and analyzed for all of the major components. These analyses then produced a final design which combined the best component features. A vibrational component was also introduced into the design to be used as anesthesia. The use of vibrational anesthesia is innovative in the field of ophthalmology. Finite element analyses were conducted on each portion of the design for structural strength and fundamental vibration frequency determination. The final design prompted the university to investigate possible patents, resulting in three patentable features. However, market analyses indicated that the cost of pursuing these patents would be more than potential earnings.

Three students enthusiastically volunteered to work together on this project. During the semester the students were guided by their faculty advisor in weekly meetings, but all design and analysis was conducted independently by the students. The student learning outcomes were assessed via performance criteria using (a) grades from the paper, poster and presentation; and (b) professor evaluation. Additional indirect assessments were obtained through student surveys and peer reviews. All assessment techniques indicated that the students met and exceeded both course expectations and the performance of other student groups enrolled in the capstone design course.

Seeking Significant and Interesting Topics for Senior Capstone Design Courses

As anyone who teaches and advises undergraduate senior capstone design courses will attest, seeking undergraduate topics with the appropriate amount of depth and design is an unending process. For universities with graduate programs and significant research endeavors, senior capstone topics can often be identified as those that, although have merit, are perhaps not large

Ruhala, L. (2009, June), Reaching Out To A Nontraditional Capstone Sponsor: Design Of A Universal Eye Speculum With Vibrational Anesthesia Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5833

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