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ENGR 100.510:  Design in Reverse: Dissecting Modern Medical Devices (BME)


Sam Jensen (TechComm),

Melissa Wrobel (BME)

Winter Term

Course Description:

Biomedical engineers envision, design, re-design, and test devices on the bleeding edge of medical technology; devices that improve and even revolutionize the treatment, diagnosis, and monitoring of the most important health challenges facing humanity today. This section of ENGR 100 is built to give you and your fellow students the opportunity to learn about and experience this process hands-on with real medical devices. Working with a design team, you’ll “reverse engineer” devices used by patients and professionals today, disassembling and reassembling them to understand how they work, assessing them for effectiveness, and, finally, after interviewing clinicians and patients, brainstorming an innovation to the original design in order to improve efficacy, convenience, safety, or a metric we can’t envision yet.

We will explore statistics, regulatory bodies like the FDA, and patent law in order to understand the reality of bringing a new device into the world. In class, we will also explore the ethical, legal, social, environmental, and economic implications of this work—the human values that lie behind every decision a biomedical engineer makes. If you are interested in pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering or the healthcare industry, this section is what you’re looking for. We hope you’ll join us for this deep dive into the high-stakes world of technology and human health.

Term Project

Reverse engineer a device and propose an innovation to the design

Drawing of a robot holding sign that says “I love ENGR 100” on whiteboard
Student drilling two pieces of wood together
Black toolbox filled with colorful parts on table in front of classroom