In the state of Virginia, nearly 1 in 5 (19.6%) adults living in communities have a disability . Additionally, disability disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minority groups. Rehabilitation engineering is “the systematic application of engineering sciences to design, develop, adapt, test, evaluate, apply, and distribute technological solutions to problems confronted by individuals with disabilities.” The focus of rehabilitation engineering is to restore or improve the functional capacity of an individual with a disability. Functional areas addressed through rehabilitation engineering may include mobility, communications, hearing, vision, and cognition, and activities associated with employment, independent living, education, and integration into the community.
The main focus of Rehabilitation Lab is to critically and systematically study current issues that negatively impact the functional capacity of individuals living with disability and develop agile, elegant solutions to address these problems. Rehabilitation Lab projects will address the needs of individuals with disabilities. The initial focus of Rehabilitation Lab will use collaborations between engineering, occupational therapy, and the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center to design and implement rapid prototyping solutions to address the needs of the individual.
Projects will include:
- Develop unique, custom designs (supportive devices or customization of commercially available devices) tailored to the needs of the individual
- Identify and analyze reliable sources of scientifically relevant, community-driven data
- Implement designs within a community and assess impact
The team is looking for Engineering students with a strong desire to apply rapid prototyping techniques and design thinking approaches to developing solutions that demonstrate impact on the individual and community level.
Interested? Contact Prof. Thea Pepperl, (firstname.lastname@example.org)