PROJECT SUMMARY: “A BIODESIGN PROGRAM IN REAHABILITATION ENGINEERING”
The development of “A Biodesign Program in Rehabilitation Engineering” structured to train interdisciplinary
undergraduate students in the design, innovation and commercialization of assistive and rehabilitative medical
devices for the disabled is proposed here. With a substantial disabled population (one in five in some states) in
the United States and an emerging amputee (~12000) and geriatric population (~ 3.3 million) in Florida alone,
smart and effective assistive and rehabilitative devices that can impact the lives of the disabled are imperative
in the current biomedical devices market. We propose to team teach rehabilitation engineering design through
an experiential and meticulous teaching model which includes four stages: Inspire, Identify, Invent and
Implement. We believe that the University's optimal location, supporting environment and infrastructure,
partnerships with the medical community, extensive network of industry representatives and excellence in
online education will all serve as precursors for the success of the proposed training program.
The proposed Biodesign program is designed as a sequence of two courses with an intermediate clinical
immersion and spans across four semesters of the junior and senior years of undergraduate students in
different engineering disciplines and in the biomedical sciences discipline. The program presents a plan to
integrate physical therapy doctoral students in the Biodesign capstone process. The multi-disciplinary teaching
team involves engineering faculty and clinical faculty from the College of Engineering and Computer Science,
College of Medicine, College of Health and Public Affairs and from UCF partners such as the Orlando VA
Medical Center and mentors and industry experts from the UCF Business Incubator and UCF ICorps Teams.
The Biodesign program plans to inspire and introduce students to the cutting edge advances in the field of
rehabilitative science and engineering through an introductory course in the spring semester of the junior year,
which is followed by a six-week summer clinical immersion where student teams identify unmet user-oriented
needs through clinical rotations organized in rehabilitation facilities at medical centers, prosthetics clinics,
physical therapy, internal medicine and sports medicine clinics. In the following fall and spring semesters of
the senior year, student teams pursue the identified design problems from the summer immersion in a two-
semester long capstone design course defining the invent and implement stages of the program. Extensive
training on device commercialization and business planning is integrated into the design innovation and
implementation phases of the program. The program concludes with a summer mentoring to nurture
entrepreneurial dreams and academic research aspirations of students completing the program.
The long term objectives of the program are: to inspire students in the field of rehabilitation engineering, to
enhance team-based design education through a novel mixed-mode teaching model, to contribute to a broad
community of disabled individuals and to promote collaborative and inter-disciplinary education and research.