Health Technology Project Teaches Life Lessons – Faculty of Engineering

Health Technology Project Teaches Life Lessons

The W Booth School continues to build a reputation as a solutions provider in the field of health technology and wellbeing.

a steel fireball outside ABB and JHE

This month, a team of W Booth graduate students delivered a functional prototype of a speciality product to help people with limited mobility and hand function make healthy meals in the comfort of their homes.

The ergonomically designed, table top unit features manual tools — cutting, grating and mixing — needed to prepare and serve fresh salads and other nutritious foods. The final prototype, a tangible outcome of a months-long design journey, was made at McMaster using a variety of techniques, including 3D printing.

The student team (Fengshou Yang, Fangfang Liu, Shuo Liu) worked closely with Sandi Mugford — a local retiree living with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects her joints. Sandi is a very active community volunteer with a strong interest in health education and training. She was introduced to our students through a course taught by guest professor Harry Mahler, a practicing designer from OCAD University in Toronto.

“Sandi helped the students understand engineering design from a human perspective,” said project supervisor, Dr. Robert Fleisig. “She shared insights, tested various iterations of the product, and provided feedback and encouragement — we couldn’t ask for more.”

Human-centred design projects teach life lessons in the importance of empathy and resilience. “These are desirable attributes our students carry with them into their careers,” said Fleisig, noting the role of experiential learning in the development of well rounded engineers capable of tackling complex challenges.