Global Biomedical Device Design
Updated Jan 28, 2014, 11:17 PM
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Welcome to GloBDD

Overview of Global Biomedical Device Design Tool: 

International donors from developed countries fund nearly 80% of health care equipment in developing countries. (WHO) Almost 70% of the donated equipment is not in use because of lack of maintenance or spare parts, or because local personnel do not know how to use it, representing a tragic waste of potentially valuable resources. This disconnect arises because equipment from developed countries is designed in a context that is substantially different than that of developing countries with respect to resources, infrastructure, social and behavioral norms, and the healthcare environment. Further, even if the target population for design is the developing country, the typical biomedical engineer in the U.S. is unlikely to be familiar with the unique challenges of designing devices for such resource-constrained environments. 

This tool will aid in design space exploration and ensure that every decision made in the design process can be defended by a well-informed rationale. Such a tool should provide an engineer in a developed country the means to incorporate needs of the target user in a developing country from the concept generation phase through to the manufacturing phase. 

Learning objectives:

(i) students will learn design strategies and research organizational skills used in modern research laboratories and industrial settings, 

(ii) students will learn finite element analysis and computational modeling skills in order to apply engineering concepts to biological and healthcare problems that entail multiple physical principles and complicated geometries,

(iii) students will combine these skills to develop a medical device based on current design needs of a country in the developing world.  This proposal will be aimed at device design and involve model development and computational analysis, peer review, evaluation of multiple alternative approaches, prototype development and testing, and project presentations. 

Guidelines for Site Use

1. This template is intended to be open-ended. Instead of providing every consideration required for a design decision, it attempts to convey "unknown unknowns" - or aspects of design that you may not have thought to include. 
2. The purpose of including examples is to show ways the various ways that a particular issue has impacted other product designs. 
3. Many of the issues brought up could fit into multiple categories, however the way that they are divided seemed to be the most logical way to split up the teams. 
4. On your own site, you do not have to address every single issue that is brought up on the template but you are expected to address all relevant issues, even ones that are not found on the website but come up over the course of the semester. 
5. The numbered order of questions does not imply priority, it is simply for ease of use.


The website will be scored at the end of the class.  This score will be one component of the final project grade.  Other scores for presentation, poster, and final product will be averaged to compile a final project grade.  The important thing is to make sure all components were addressed concisely and with detail.  For example, it is not sufficient to say something was "cheap" and to say it met a customer need.  You could, instead, mention what the typical income is for the user (maybe in dollars/day) compare that with the average US income and make a judgment on whether your device would be considered "cheap"  here, for example.

The technology landscape in a developing world hospital can be bleak. This photo taken from 

Mt. Meru Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania, illustrates a typical operating room in a donation-dependent hospital. Notice that there are no overhead operating room lights, only a small floor lamp. The large windows are required because the power frequently fails, rendering even the floor lamp useless.

Caption& Image: Malkin, Robert A. "Design of Health Care Technologies for the Developing World." Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering, 2007: 567-87
Subpages (1): Project websites