16th Annual Engineering Design Showcase

Posted: May 21, 2023

During the Annual Engineering Design Showcase, student groups share their capstone projects through poster presentations. This year's Engineering Design Showcase was held on April 25, 2023. More than 200 student groups presented, 30 of which featured BME undergraduates. 

People gathering in atrium of Fontana for the Engineering Design Showcase
People gather in Fontana's atrium for poster presentations at the Engineering Design Showcase

For their senior capstone projects undergraduate students in engineering collaboratively work toward developing innovative solutions to real world problems identified by local sponsors. These multidisciplinary capstone projects offer students the opportunity to apply the knowledges they’ve gained through hands-on experience, collaboration, and direct interaction with industry professionals.  

Capstone projects offer a unique combination of project management, industry or clinical interaction and diverse teams, providing an invaluable experience for students that differs from their regular coursework, and emphasizes the importance of teamwork.

“Each member had rather different experiences and knowledge bases and it was an initial challenge to figure out how best to work together and combine each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” an engineering student said. “One lesson learned was not to assume anyone’s experience and to keep an open mind when trying to solve a problem.”

BME Student Capstone Projects

All of the BME capstone projects offered creative applications of student knowledge to create innovative solutions to real-world problems. Students at the Engineering Design Showcase were eager to share their solutions, as well as what they wish they had more time to improve in their designs. It was clear that students came away from these projects with a deeper understanding of the challenges in developing medical devices, the importance of user-centered testing, and a deepened appreciation for genuine collaboration.

Capstone Spotlight: Creating a Radiolucent Surgical Assistive Device for Bunion Surgery

Said Atway, DPM, a podiatrist with OSU’s Wexner Center presented a capstone team of BME students with a current problem he and others face during bunion surgery. Students Gracie Eisenhauer, Gabriel Lee, and Jacob McDermitt explained this real-world problem to me:

Bunions are a bump on the side of the big toe, caused by misaligned bones. About one in three Americans have bunions, which leads to pain while walking. The current treatment strategy is bunion surgery to remove built up bone and tissue, restoring the foot to its natural alignment for pain free ambulation.

Improved bunion surgery device team and poster
Gabriel Lee, Jacob McDermitt, and Gracie Eisenhauer stand next to their poster for their capstone project "Creating a Radiolucent Surgical Assistive Device for Bunion Surgery"

While surgery is often effective, the students explained bunion surgery is a bit of a subjective process, because there currently is no device that holds the foot in place for the surgery. To ensure the foot is secure, it is held by numerous people in the operating room to keep it stable while the surgeon is at work. Gracie Eisenhauer emphasized the difficulty of this “hands on” approach to stability when it comes to taking X-rays during surgery: getting quality imaging is particularly difficult with the current approach, which can lead to needing multiple X-rays and increases time patients are under anesthesia.

Improved bunion surgery device
The Bunion Surgery Assistive Device 

Through two semesters of working together to find an innovative solution to this real-world problem, the student team brought together their individual strengths to create the Bunion Surgery Assistive Device. The device serves as a stabilizer for the foot that is radiolucent so it can go from the operating room to the X-ray without issue. It also utilizes Velcro straps to hold the big toe away from the rest of the foot for easier incision. To support consistency in surgery, the team included a surgical rod, which holds the cutting guide for easy adjustments in surgery. Each component of the device was tested and analyzed by the student team to ensure it met the goals of the product.

It was as impressive to see the medical device these students made as it was to witness the teamwork and skills they gained during the process. All of the poster presentations offered exciting interventions for problems presented before the team. To see the rest of the team projects, including pictures, click through the sections below.

If you would like to support BME undergraduate research, consider giving to the BMES Student Conference Award Fund, which provides support for undergraduates to travel to the BMES conference in October.

Thank you to Dr. Mark Ruegsegger and Dr. Alexis Ortiz-Rosario for their help in creating this piece.

By Rebecca Hudgins, Department Coordinator for BME, hudgins.18@osu.edu

Biomedical Engineering Projects

MedForAll Projects

Assistive Device Projects

Multidisciplinary Capstone Projects