A Project Course Sequence in Innovation and Commercialization of Medical Devices

[+] Author and Article Information
Alan W. Eberhardt

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

Brandon Sherrod

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

1Corresponding author.

ASME 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 a 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, CNC, 3D printing and plastics molding), followed by an introduction to microcontrollers and printed circuit boards 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. Assessment results are described, along with lessons learned and plans for enhancement of the course sequence.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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