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07-13-2012

Clarkson University Team Places Second in Design Competition

An integrated design team from the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at Clarkson University won second place in the second annual Undergraduate Design Project Competition in Rehabilitation and Assistive Devices for their project “Design of a Multi-Function Walker/Cane for Enhanced Assistive Function.”

An integrated design team from the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at Clarkson University recently won second place in the second annual Undergraduate Design Project Competition in Rehabilitation and Assistive Devices for their project “Design of a Multi-Function Walker/Cane for Enhanced Assistive Function.” Left to right: Prof. Laurel Kuxhaus, Tom Burns '12, and Prof. Kevin Fite display the walker/cane device.This marks the second consecutive year in which a team from Clarkson has placed second in the competition. 

The main objective of the design effort was to create a multipurpose assistive device that can be easily transformed between a cane and walker, depending upon the specific needs of its user.

The single assistive device allows safe and comfortable operation appropriate for a diverse array of daily activities, including maneuvering within narrow passageways unnavigable with conventional walkers.

The prototype was developed in collaboration with faculty in Clarkson's Department of Physical Therapy, with the objective of addressing a tangible clinical need in ambulatory assistive technology.

To participate in the competition, the students prepared a short paper describing their proposed device in mid-January. Under the direction of Assistant Professors Kevin Fite and Laurel Kuxhaus, the students Tom Burns, Tom Finn, Emily Garrant, Frank Hemsing, Kathleen Lewicki, and Ryan Pane researched the product need and market potential, and developed the device prototype and an economic plan for its commercialization based on their findings.

The final competition comprised an oral presentation and prototype demonstration by each finalist, and was held in June at the 2012 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Summer Bioengineering Conference in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Clarkson students competed against finalists from Rice University, the University of Denver, the University of Waterloo, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. 

As part of being selected as a finalist, the team received a monetary award from the ASME Bioengineering Division used for prototype development and to defray the costs of traveling to the conference. 

More information about the competition can be found at:  http://www.asmeconferences.org/SBC2012/UndergraduateCompetition.cfm .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/mae-design-2012.jpg .]

Photo caption: An integrated design team from the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at Clarkson University recently won second place in the second annual Undergraduate Design Project Competition in Rehabilitation and Assistive Devices for their project “Design of a Multi-Function Walker/Cane for Enhanced Assistive Function.” Left to right: Prof. Laurel Kuxhaus, Tom Burns '12, and Prof. Kevin Fite display the walker/cane device.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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