April 21, 2010
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Products engineered by students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will provide crucial low-cost rehabilitative care alternatives for local organizations that serve residents of the Greater Birmingham community living with physical disabilities.
The products were created by in the capstone Biomedical Engineering course BME 499, which is required for senior-level students planning to graduate in May.
"Our students are able to design and build devices that benefit these local health-care providers - devices that are not available or are simply cost-prohibitive if purchased from equipment suppliers or other companies," says Alan Eberhardt, Ph.D., the BME 499 instructor and a professor of biomedical engineering at UAB.
The student products include a specially-designed wheelchair lift for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham (UCP). The device will raise wheelchair-bound clients off the ground so that they can more easily reach table tops and conveyor belts to complete tasks and participate in group work in UCP's rehabilitation programs at its adult services facility, LINCPoint.
Another student design that will to be donated to the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services is a wheelchair trainer. The device will provide rehabilitation clients who are interested in qualifying for the use of a motorized wheelchair an opportunity to test and train with the motorized controls in a safe and protected environment.
These devices and three others designed by BME 499 students will be showcased during an event at 1 p.m. Friday, April 23 in Business-Engineering Complex Room 109, 1150 10th Ave. South. Students will present their work to an audience of peers, professors and professionals from the companies that will benefit from the donated devices.
The UAB School of Engineering offers students real-world experience while they train in one of its half dozen degree programs, which include the only undergraduate biomedical engineering program in Alabama. Students experience cutting-edge research opportunities, industry co-ops and unique internships generated by the school's commitment to interdisciplinary learning.