The highlight of this session was two intense hands-on activities where students had to apply their creativity and building skills to design and make biomedical engineering devices
In the first activity, students had to create a device to unclog an artery. Using videos, Maya first introduced them to the circulatory system, the role of arteries and how plaque builds up and why it is dangerous. She then took them through the design engineering process. Students worked in groups to brainstorm on possible design solutions for unclogging an artery (plastic tube lined with playdoh) – they made drawings and specified the materials their group would use from the whole array of material provided to them. They created a prototype of their device, tested the device, and modified it. They had to then make a presentation to the other students of what worked and what to be modified. Students then got to see videos of what devices are used are in real life – they were surprised how similar their own devices looked!
Before launching into the next high energy activity, students spent some time read articles and watching videos to better understand the range of things a biomedical engineer could do – it was especially inspiring to watch the video of Michelle Kline. Maya took them through her own experience in this field.
On to making prosthetic limbs. First students watched a video on the $20 Jaipur limb that has changed the lives of so many in India. Their task for the next hour was to make a prosthetic leg for one of their group mates. There was furious activity in terms of brainstorming, drawing, building, testing and then back to brainstorming.