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BME design expo to showcase real-world solutions

BME Student Design Expo

This semester's expo features 20 prototypes designed by more than 100 biomedical engineering undergraduates. (large image)

On Dec. 3, more than 100 biomedical engineering undergraduate students will gather in the lobby of the Engineering Centers Building to showcase their solutions to real-world challenges presented by clients in the state's medical devices industry and from the university. "From Bench to Bedside: The Biomedical Engineering Student Design Expo" runs from noon to 2 p.m. and will feature 20 prototypes students built for their clients. The event is open to the public.

The students' projects are the outcome of a biomedical engineering course that requires students to work every semester of their degree on real-world challenges in the health-care and medical-products industries. "This is the real stuff, the outcome of some of the best and most innovative thinking by any group of undergrads in the country today," says Professor Robert Radwin, founder and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. "Students learn how to be engineers by working on real engineering design projects throughout their education. And what makes it all the more interesting is these projects are students' responses to some real-world challenges laid down by companies in the healthcare sector, as well as faculty from our medical school, hospital and across campus."

This semester, the students design projects include:

  • An electromechanical disposable drug-delivery system,
  • A new localization device for breast lesions,
  • A device that rotates the neck during functional CT and MR imaging,
  • An artificial limb to study burns that sometimes occur during orthopedic cast curing,
  • A robotic image-guided biopsy system, and
  • A portable patient-training device for lung-cancer treatment.

Now in its seventh year, the BME design course, which Radwin says is the only one of its kind in American higher education, is supported by four companies whose engineers work with the students to tackle design challenges the companies have identified. The four are American Medical Systems, Datex-Ohmeda, GE Health Care and Nicolet Biomedical.

The BME design expo also includes keynote speaker Michael J. Cudahy, the founder and chief executive officer of Marquette Medical Systems, Inc., of Milwaukee. As an industrialist, entrepreneur and community leader, Cudahy is well-known for his belief in innovative and creative ways to prepare students for the challenges of the modern workforce. His address will begin at noon in the Research Presentation Room of the Engineering Centers Building.

For a more information about the students' projects, visit For an in-depth look at the program, see the November feature article posted on the UW Business News Wire at