Biomedical engineers shine in 19th annual IPPD expo

In News, Research & Innovation

Gator Engineering’s Integrated Product and Process Design program continues to spotlight innovation with its 19th annual Final Design Review and Prototype Demonstration Showcase on April 15.

This exposition will be the first year undergraduate biomedical engineering students are participating. Team “Clean Cut” includes seniors from BME’s inaugural graduating class collaborating on a prototype system of recycling single-use medical equipment. They are doing this work within their capstone design course. Biomedical company Stryker Corporation sponsored the project.

“The company’s goal is to reduce the cost of healthcare to patients by reducing medical waste through reprocessing of medical instruments,” said BME faculty coach James Schumacher. “This project involves the reprocessing of surgical dissection devices. It required the design, process development and fabrication of equipment for disassembly, cleaning and reassembly of the device.”

IPPD Director R. Keith Stanfill is excited for the new opportunities BME’s undergraduates bring to the program.

“BME provides expertise in areas that were not easily accessible to IPPD students in the years before,” Stanfill said. “BME’s continued involvement with IPPD will open up further opportunities to work with medical device companies in the design of products and product testing systems.”

The partnership has been such a success that IPPD aims to recruit three more local medical device companies over the summer to sponsor projects, said Schumacher.

The IPPD program has been providing Gator Engineering students with hands-on engineering experience for almost two decades through company-sponsored projects.

“This is the best program in the university for undergraduates,” Stanfill said. “It’s a premiere program for them to get real world experience.”

Students that apply for IPPD are vetted by their individual departments and then selected for interdisciplinary project teams by IPPD staff and faculty coaches. If selected, students spend eight months working on a prototype, with the help of a faculty advisor and a company liaison.

Projects have ranged from pizza warming devices to a wireless fire hydrant flow monitoring system. Current sponsors, including The Walt Disney Company, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin, provide $23,000 per project.

Students dive deep into teamwork and multidisciplinary learning, Stanfill said. They learn how to handle confidential information and run meetings. They learn how to make the leap from being students to being professionals.

Erik Sander, director of UF’s Engineering Innovation Institute, says the IPPD program is ideal training for the new industry environments that Gator Engineers are entering.

“The New Engineer will lead this nation through the next generation of technology advances to provide quality-of-life and productivity enhancements like we’ve never seen,” said Sander. “ This engineer will work in innovative interdisciplinary teams, taking a human centered design approach to real world problems. IPPD is an exemplary program that prepares our students to lead and succeed in that environment.”

The 19th annual Final Design Review and Prototype Exposition will be held on April 15, 2014, in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom from 3 to 8 p.m. For more information on the scheduling for the event, visit the website.