Over 39 years, the Towson-based IMAGE Center has been working to empower people with disabilities.
Among the 20 programs the nonprofit offers is one that brings in local engineers to create new solutions. Through Volunteers for Medical Engineering, the center works with student engineers and medical pros to design new devices.
The program reports that over 100 students from about 10 universities design a device. The work is built into a class, and students go about creating something new: interviewing clients, completing research and making computer-aided designs. They also present to experts to assure safety and quality.
“This program will encourage young engineers to use their technical skills for the greater good of the community,” said IMAGE Center Executive Director Michael Bullis. “People with disabilities are often overlooked when it comes to their daily needs, and innovative solutions are important.”
With National Engineering Week running through Feb. 27, the IMAGE Center is sharing stories of the devices this week. Each day at 1 p.m., videos are posting on Facebook and Instagram featuring alums of the program talking about the devices they created. One of the first posts features Caterina Esposito, who is from the Johns Hopkins University chapter of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers.
She created a device called Rosie’s Walker, which was designed to assist a person with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome. The developmental disorder led to a prognosis that she wouldn’t be able to walk, so Esposito worked on a miniature walker to assist.
“Watching Rosie take her first steps was a surreal moment that I will never forget,” Esposito said in the video. “The VME process and working so closely with families taught me how to incorporate client feedback to create personalized medical solutions with the most value.”
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