01 Dec Students will show off biomedical devices to professors and investors
Madison, Wis. — Students at the University of Wisconsin’s biomedical engineering department will have a chance to bring a semester’s worth of work into the spotlight on Friday at the Biomedical Engineering Design Expo.
Starting at noon at the Engineering Centers Building, 1550 Engineering Drive, 20 teams of students will present their semester research projects to their professors and possible investors.
Devices for this year’s expo include an electromechanical system for dispensing disposable drugs such as insulin, a needle-based device for locating breast lesions, a flow-rate controller for microfluidic research, and a CT scanner add-on to allow improved neck rotation. Each team must prepare a poster that summarizes the product’s development and goals, a working prototype, and a presentation that will be given to the project advisors and any interested parties.
“It’s part of the educational process for the students to present their results,” said Robert Radwin, founder and chairman of the department. “I think the students are just learning more and more, and the projects just keep getting better and better.”
Radwin said that the biomedical engineering design course began on the UW-Madison campus seven years ago because few biomedical companies wanted to hire people without design experience. Since the department did not want to focus solely on educating pre-med students, the design course requires every student to develop a project that can be applied to real-life health concerns.
The program has also expanded outside the UW-Madison campus. Four Wisconsin companies – American Medical Systems, Datex-Ohmeda, GE Healthcare and Nicolet Biomedical – contribute design advice and engineering aid to the students and their projects. Radwin said this local interest keeps students aware of in-state opportunities and helps keep some from leaving.
“The neat part about the expo is the opportunity to speak with people one-on-
one,” said Alyssa Walsworth, leader of the team developing a multistream flow-rate controller. “The environment after the formal presentations is fairly relaxed, so it’s less intimidating to ask questions about other projects and to answer questions about your project.”
At the noon luncheon Michael Cudahy, founder and chef executive officer of Marquette Medical Systems, will speak on how the students will be able to use the knowledge they have obtained from their research to adapt to real-world challenges.
“He represents the entrepreneurial spirit that we instill in our students,” Radwin said.
Student team members are optimistic about the forum’s overall results.
“The expo is the culmination of the entire semester of research, design, building and testing that has been done to reach our project’s goals,” said Andrew Neumann, leader of the team making a disposable drug dispenser. “We think that it is a great opportunity to showcase the entire biomedical engineering program … [and] give industry representatives a chance to see what the students are capable of designing and building.”