Collaborative Research: Fostering Innovation and Creativity: A National Design Competition in Rehabilitation and Assistive Devices Grant uri icon


  • The objective of this project is to provide a unique opportunity for undergraduate engineering design teams in the area of rehabilitation and assistive devices to showcase their product innovations in a national design competition. This objective will be accomplished through a three-year commitment to support a national design competition hosted at the Summer Biomechanics, Biotransport and Bioengineering Conference (SB3C) where undergraduate design teams from across the country can submit their designs in the area of rehabilitation and assistive devices. The abstracts are reviewed by faculty in the area and the top six teams are invited to attend SB3C and present their work in a special podium session. Each of the finalists will receive $3000 for travel and prototype development. This competition has the potential to also be used as a motivational component to foster innovation and creativity by other faculty teaching design or product development courses. The stability of the competition for the next three years allows the organizer to recruit earlier, and be able to confirm with teams that funds are available for travel and prototyping in advance of the submission deadlines. The SB3C competition will provide an opportunity for faculty across the country to use it as a motivational component in the process of fostering creativity. Undergraduate students attending the conference through their involvement in the competition will learn about bio-solid mechanics, bio-fluid mechanics, device design, rehabilitation, cellular and molecular mechanics, functional tissue engineering, bio-heat and mass transfer, and bioengineering education. Numerous podium sessions, poster sessions, workshops and plenary talks are designed to engage and excite the attendees including the session for the undergraduate design competition.The undergraduate design competition will broaden the benefits of the component of motivation to other undergraduate students and their faculty mentors across the country. Further, the materials developed as part of this project will be shared with all faculty mentors involved in prior and future competitions. This competition provides a national venue (with many international attendees) for teams to showcase their innovations in the areas of rehabilitation and assistive devices and compete with their peers. Undergraduate students attending the conference will participate in a research-driven event with technical sessions, workshops and presentations by faculty, clinicians and industrial representatives who have expertise in device design, rehabilitation, disabilities, and numerous other areas. Also, funding will make travel possible for students who otherwise might not attend an academic conference. Attendance at the conference provides valuable networking opportunities for the students, including contacts for graduate school and employment. The inclusion of the competition at the conference also exposes attendees to innovative solutions for needs of individuals with disabilities, or those undergoing rehabilitation.This award reflects NSF''s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation''s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

date/time interval

  • 2019 - 2020