This grant supports the enhancement of a recently launched two semester Interdisciplinary Medical Product Development (IMPD) senior design capstone course sequence in the Department of Bioengineering at UIC in two significant ways: (1) development of a Biomedical Clinical Immersion course to serve as a gateway to IMPD, and (2) acquisition of a Fused Deposition Modeling rapid prototype machine. Two complementary directions of proposed curricular innovation will be integrated: a truly interdisciplinary teachingof early product development that is based on an understanding and appreciation of user needs, and an iterative approach to advanced prototyping and testing of medical devices to meet regulations and standards. IMPD is modeled on the nationally recognized Interdisciplinary Product Development (IPD) program developed at UIC a decade ago starting with mechanical and industrial engineering. In IMPD, design teams are comprised of seniors in Bioengineering, MFA Industrial Design students, and MBA students, and the course is co-taught by faculty from all three colleges (Engineering, Architecture and Design, and Business). IMPD benefits from frequent feedback from clinician mentors assigned to each team that are selected based upon the project topic. In addition, the project is sponsored by an industry partner, which provides industry-perspective mentorship to each team. The IMPD program exposes students to the entire medical product development cycle, beginning in the earliest stages of needs assessment. The IMPD course does provide for clinical observation and engaging clinical input from the earliest stages; but, a Biomedical Clinical Immersion course will provide the depth to holistically understand the clinical environment, including process flow, workarounds, and inefficiencies. Proof of concept testing lies at the opposite end of the product development cycle, and necessarily relies upon a physical prototype. The process of iterative prototyping permits refinement of the concept such that it is appropriate in look, feel and function. Acquisition of a Fused Deposition Modeling rapid prototype machine will permit students to quickly actualize and respond to their CAD-based concept designs, and allow them to experience the entirety of the product development cycle in as real world scenario as possible.
A Biomedical Clinical Immersion course will be created to provide bioengineering students an opportunity to interface with clinicians in the hospital environment in order to enable them to methodically identify opportunities and requirements for medical device design. These students will then feed into a newly launched Interdisciplinary Medical Product Development course, comprised of seniors in Bioengineering, MFA Industrial Design students and MBA students. This course, itself, will be enhanced by acquisition of a rapid prototyping machine to emphasize iterative prototyping and design.