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Research Papers

A Project Course Sequence in Innovation and Commercialization of Medical Devices

[+] Author and Article Information
Alan W. Eberhardt, Brandon Sherrod

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Alabama at Birmingham,
Birmingham, AL 35294

Shea Tillman

School of Industrial and Graphic Design,
Auburn University,
Auburn, AL 36849

Brandon Kirkland

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Alabama at Birmingham,
Birmingham, AL 35294

Manuscript received December 29, 2016; final manuscript received April 3, 2017; published online June 6, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Eric A. Kennedy.

J Biomech Eng 139(7), 071003 (Jun 06, 2017) (7 pages) Paper No: BIO-16-1547; doi: 10.1115/1.4036441 History: Received December 29, 2016; Revised April 03, 2017

There exists a need for educational processes in which students gain experience with design and commercialization of medical devices. This manuscript describes the implementation of, and assessment results from, the first year offering of a project course sequence in Master of Engineering (MEng) in Design and Commercialization at our institution. The three-semester course sequence focused on developing and applying hands-on skills that contribute to product development to address medical device needs found within our university hospital and local community. The first semester integrated computer-aided drawing (CAD) as preparation for manufacturing of device-related components (hand machining, computer numeric control (CNC), three-dimensional (3D) printing, and plastics molding), followed by an introduction to microcontrollers (MCUs) and printed circuit boards (PCBs) for associated electronics and control systems. In the second semester, the students applied these skills on a unified project, working together to construct and test multiple weighing scales for wheelchair users. In the final semester, the students applied industrial design concepts to four distinct device designs, including user and context reassessment, human factors (functional and aesthetic) design refinement, and advanced visualization for commercialization. The assessment results are described, along with lessons learned and plans for enhancement of the course sequence.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Beam with hole activities in which students developed CAD drawings (left), then machined them by hand (center), CNC and 3D printing (right)

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Fig. 2

Students used the Sparkman Redboard as a platform for learning microcontrollers

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Fig. 3

(top) CAD rendering and photograph (right) of the wheelchair accessible weighing scale with LCD readout; (bottom) MEng students worked in teams to build the scales and the associated electronics

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Fig. 4

The prototype Wii-Fit board was merged with the wheelchair scale to provide a project for the third course

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Fig. 5

Perceived competency levels (mean + standard deviation) as reported by the students reveal substantial increases following training in the first project course

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Fig. 6

One of eight wheelchair accessible weighing scales completed in EGR 694

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Fig. 7

Photorealistic keyshot renderings were developed including the hemostasis tool and the Wii-Fit gaming device with improved hand rails

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Fig. 8

Photorealistic keyshot renderings were employed to explain the prototype's use and benefits through a visual narrative poster

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