An Example‐Centric Tool for Context-Driven Design of Biomedical Devices

Khanjan Mehta, Peter Butler, and Rachel Dzombak

Advances in Engineering Education

Dzombak, R., Mehta, K., Butler, P., Advances in Engineering Education, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 1-32, “An Example‐Centric Tool for Context-Driven Design of Biomedical Devices,”  Winter 2015


Engineering is one of the most global professions, with design teams developing technologies for an increasingly interconnected and borderless world. In order for engineering students to be proficient in creating viable solutions to the challenges faced by diverse populations, they must receive an experiential education in rigorous engineering design processes as well as identify the needs of customers living in communities radically different from their own. Acquainting students with the unique context and constraints of developing countries is difficult because of the breadth of pertinent considerations and the time constraints of academic semesters. This article describes a tool called Global Biomedical Device Design, or GloBDD, that facilitates simultaneous instruction in design methodology and global context considerations. GloBDD espouses an example-centric approach to educate students in the user-centered and context-driven design of biomedical devices. The tool employs real-world case studies to help students understand the importance of identifying external considerations early in the design process: issues like anthropometric, contextual, social, economic, and manufacturing considerations amongst many others. This article presents the rationale for the tool, its content and organization, and evaluation results from integration into a junior-level biomedical device design class. Results indicate that the tool engages students in design space exploration, leads them to making sound design decisions, and teaches them how to defend these decisions with a well-informed rationale.
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