The course projects have multiple facets – mechanical, materials, sensor, signal processing, wireless communication, software, interfacing with other equipment, and safety – and can potentially be decomposed into two or more sub-projects.
Learning Goals. The learning goals of these projects are focused on interacting with potential users and identifying their needs, developing experience with industry-standard design processes, and working productively in multidisciplinary team settings. Significant emphasis is placed on:
- interacting with both users and clinicians to define the problem and to characterize the existing range of solutions
- identification of the value that the design team can offer (through understanding the relationship between the potential users’ needs and the constraints of those who will ultimately be asked to pay the costs of the proposed solutions, as well as by considering how a potential solution may ultimately be brought to market or otherwise to implementation).
- project planning – laying out a reasonable timeline, identifying and assigning responsibilities for different tasks to different team members.
- interface definition – explicitly identifying and documenting how each member’s or sub-team’s responsibilities connect with those of the other members or sub-teams.
- development and use of proper project documentation – students are acquainted with ISO 9000-type quality control regulations and use similar (though likely simplified) versions of these regulations in their own projects.
- familiarization with the use of standards and associated regulatory and liability considerations – the Senior Chairholder has significant experience with safety-critical systems and has negotiated an accord with the Canadian Standards Association (Canada’s representative to ISO) to make important standards available to faculty members and students. The Associate Chairholder is working with instructors in the graduate Biomedical Engineering program who are trained in medical regulatory issues to integrate these considerations into his current graduate courses.
- regular team communication – use of concurrent engineering approaches to ensure that issues relevant to and with implications for other team members are identified early and communicated clearly both amongst the team and to the faculty advisors and clients.
- familiarization with key prototyping technologies relevant to each discipline (e.g., for mechanical engineers, this involves rapid prototyping processes such as water-jet cutting, bending machines, spot welding, stereo-lithography machines, etc; for electrical engineers, this involves working with FPGAs or CAD-based circuit designers and simulators).
- quantitative reasoning – an emphasis on the use of prediction early in the design process, based on analytical models, simulations, experiments or prototype development and testing.