UAB biomedical engineering project wins international award

Students design award-winning device to help physically disabled.

da vinci winnerElana Prizlow Sullivan, National MS Society, and Alan EberhardtA project designed as part of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s  Biomedical Engineering Capstone Design Course was awarded the 2014 student da Vinci Award on Friday. The international awards program recognized UAB students for their achievement and innovation in assistive and adaptive technology helping individuals overcome physical limitations.

The winning team included UAB students Lance Beverly, Ryan Densmore, Daniel McFalls, Shelby May and Stephen Mehi. The winning project, a wheelchair that toddlers control with a joystick, was chosen from a group of finalists representing the United States, France, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The toddler wheelchair, which was developed through a partnership between the School of Engineering and the Collat School of Business, is currently in use at the Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs.

Associate Dean Alan Eberhardt, Ph.D., accepted the award for the project at the 2014 da Vinci Special Awards Gala at the Ford Conference and Event Center in Dearborn, Mich.

The international awards program recognized UAB students for their achievement and innovation in assistive and adaptive technology helping individuals overcome physical limitations.

The toddler wheelchair was one of two UAB projects that were finalists for the awards. The Scale-Metrix Wheelchair Scale, an affordable home wheelchair scale used for weight monitoring, was designed by Jarrod Collins, Josh Haynes, Austin Johnson and Brandon Sherrod. The Scale-Metrix has been in use at the Lakeshore Foundation.

“These projects showcase our students’ abilities to solve a real-world engineering problem,” said Eberhardt. “The Capstone Design Course allows them to put their knowledge to task, and we are extremely proud that they are being recognized for their hard work.”

The da Vinci Awards program was developed in 2001 by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Michigan Chapter. Proceeds from the awards will benefit the society.

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