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Siemens Features Rose-Hulman Design Project in International Mini-Documentary Series

August 24, 2012

By Dale Long, Director of News Services

You can also read more about this story at Scientific American  or the innovative FastCompany (/CoExist)

Two Biomedical Engineering Students Design, Produce Prosthetic Device to Help Indiana Boy

  Capturing Projects: Renowned international filmmakers followed the design and construction process for a biomedical engineering senior-year capstone design project, including the final technical presentation at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

A new mini-documentary by global innovation leader Siemens is showcasing a prosthetic device created by two Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology biomedical engineering students for an Indiana boy as the latest example of how technology benefits people.

The four-minute video is currently featured on the company's international Web site as part of the "/answers" campaign about real people being impacted by Siemens technology. The stories are produced by renowned filmmakers.

View the video here.

The project features Daniel Wilson, a curious, dinosaur-loving eight-year-old boy from Rockville, Indiana. He was born with a longitudinal deficiency, severely limiting the use of his right arm. In the video, he wishes to swing a baseball bat and ride a bike. So his mother requested assistance from Rose-Hulman's Department of Applied and Biomedical Engineering after learning about the success of past projects for assisting youths.

Biomedical engineering students Mark Calhoun and Jacob Price accepted the senior-year capstone design challenge of using state-of-the-art computer-aided design (CAD) and engineering (CAE) software (developed by Siemens) to construct a lightweight, fully functional prosthetic device that utilizes seven subsystems to make Daniel's life a lot easier.

Learning About Project: Daniel Wilson, 8, learns about the prosthesis that was designed and constructed for him by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 2012 biomedical engineering graduates Mark Calhoun and Jacob Price.      

"Ideas for our campaign videos go through a very selective process, and I am personally excited because this is the first video to feature a Siemens PLM Software-related story," states Bill Boswell, Senior Director of Partner Strategy for Siemens PLM Software. "We became aware of a past Rose-Hulman project that used Solid Edge software to design a robotic arm for young boy. After learning about the great work that Rose-Hulman was doing in this area, I contacted our Siemens corporate team in Germany to suggest we highlight this success."

Two filmmakers spent most of the 2011-12 school year following Calhoun and Price throughout the design and construction process. Then, the project was presented to Daniel in May and he's now using it at home. The video also showcases Daniel's sister, Elizabeth, mother, Emily, and father, Charles.

"The impact that this project has had on Daniel's life can't really be described in words," says Emily Wilson. "However, I believe that the relationship that bloomed with Jacob, Mark, and our whole family has effected all of us.  Daniel loves Mark and Jacob, and really looks up to them.  Daniel is so proud of 'Pinchy,' his name for the prosthetic, and that he was able to be involved in every aspect of the design process. I think that really helped boost his self-confidence. Overall, it has been an unbelievable experience that not only Daniel, but all of us will remember and be proud of for the rest of our lives. I hope that from this experience Daniel will grow up and do something like this for someone else."

  Personalized Device: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior biomedical engineering students used Siemens' state-of-the-art computer-aided design and engineering software to construct a lightweight, fully functional prosthetic device that utilizes seven subsystems to make the client's life a lot easier.

Price, a 2012 Rose-Hulman graduate who is now a staff validation engineer for Performance Validation in Indianapolis, was happy to use his engineering skill to help others.

"Daniel is an awesome kid, the Wilsons are an awesome family, and I could not be more grateful with being given this opportunity," He states "I'll never forget seeing Daniel engaging in the meetings, seeing the pictures of him wearing his prosthetic weeks after we delivered it, and watching him use it to pick up toys and scratch his mom's back. There's no better feeling than that of making a difference in someone's life."

Calhoun is now a graduate student at The Ohio State University.

The prosthesis was one of 12 biomedical engineering capstone projects completed in 2011-12, under the supervision of professors Kay C Dee, Ph.D, Glen Livesay, Ph.D., and Renee Rogge, Ph.D. Other devices constructed included a custom-designed walker for a kindergarten student, a vest-like device that corrects proprioception dysfunction and severely-slouched shoulders for children, a lightweight brace that corrects ankle pronation, and an insole device that measures and redistributes the stresses on an athlete's foot. The projects receive support from a National Science Foundation grant.

"Real projects for real clients help our students make real connections to what they can do with engineering," states Livesay. "The team that worked with Daniel really exemplifies what we're striving for in design: creative solutions and lots of hard work that enable our students to have a strong, positive impact on the lives of people in our community."

Trying Out Prosthesis: Daniel Wilson, 8, from Rockville, Indiana, uses the prosthetic device that was specially designed for him by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 2012 biomedical engineering graduates Mark Calhoun (left) and Jacob Price.


Dee adds, "Design projects let our students use all of the skills in their 'toolbox': professionalism, creativity, technical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, independent time management skills, hands-on building, and technical documentation skills. These are incredible learning opportunities for our students."

Siemens PLM Software provided Rose-Hulman a $27.8 million in-kind software grant last year to provide the college and its students with the latest advanced hands-on training tools to lead the next generation of engineers for innovative, high-tech careers. The software is being used by students to develop cutting-edge technology in classrooms, laboratories, and advanced transportation competition teams.

"At Rose-Hulman, students work with the latest software and simulation programs from Siemens PLM Software to create a lot of exciting projects," states Boswell.

Daniel's story has spread across the internet from Scientific American to FastCompany.