Rehabilitation Engineering Universal Design Challenge

Lowery, Madeleine M. (2015) Rehabilitation Engineering Universal Design Challenge.


This paper will discuss the integration of universal design as part of a module on Rehabilitation Engineering in the undergraduate and masters Biomedical Engineering programmes at University College Dublin (UCD). The module introduces students to the field of Rehabilitation Engineering through a combination of lectures, assignments, and practical exercises. Students are based in UCD, Belfield and the National Rehabilitation Hospital, and receive lectures from faculty at UCD and a number of clinical guest lectures from organizations including the Centre for Universal Design at the NDA, the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Enable Ireland, and Spinal Injuries Ireland. A key component of the module is a Universal Design Challenge in which students are required to develop initial concept design solutions over 24-48 hour period. Students are asked to design a product that will address identified user needs arising from a disability that typically includes diminished strength, dexterity, mobility, sensory function and/or communication. The primary output is a new or redesigned product, tool or device that has the potential to make a significant difference to the user and to enable their ability to access the world. Projects are assessed on the ability of the design concept to meet the expectations defined with specific principles of Universal Design. The module and the incorporation of a Universal Design component requires students to focus on user needs and enables them to interact directly with patients, user groups and clinicians.

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