Senior Design Experience

Bringing the Real World into the Classroom

The senior design experience is an extremely important part of the biomedical engineering curriculum at Texas A&M University. Through the program, the department’s undergraduate students work with sponsors as part of a project aimed at designing and fabricating a medical device or system. 

The projects, which can result in new designs or improvements to existing designs, are sponsored by clients such as medical device companies, medical research centers, clinicians and global organizations dedicated to improving access to health care technology.

Throughout the course of two semesters, a student team of senior biomedical engineering majors initiates and completes its project, designing a medical device or system based on its sponsor’s specifications while adhering to design control criteria and FDA requirements. The experience requires students to manage their projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor and sponsor liaison, conduct design reviews, fabricate and test their designs, and formally present their work to both the faculty and sponsoring liaison. 

All documentation and prototypes developed by the student teams are provided to the sponsor, and any resulting intellectual property may be assigned to the sponsor or may be subject to the intellectual property policies of the Texas A&M University System. If required, students can sign non-disclosure agreements, and the sponsoring entity can request assignment of all intellectual property prior to beginning the project.

Ideas that Turn into Real-world Solutions

When talented students apply their creativity and knowledge to real-world health issues, innovative solutions take form. For example, a senior design team recently developed a device that assesses the health of an individual’s lung by measuring the force of a single expiration.

The team, which was sponsored by Dr. Mehdi Razavi of the Texas Heart Institute, developed a prototype that quantitatively analyzes the force of air flow and also completed a conceptual design for processing signals to inform individuals of their lung status.

The device is intended to assist individuals with impaired lung function in detecting the onset of dangerous conditions and has a wide range of other applications, including athletic and military performance training and gaming or other interfaces for mobile devices. What’s more, the team’s work was used as the basis for a joint provisional patent application and the formation of a company co-owned by the design team and its sponsors.

Examples of Design Projects

  • Device to assist a non-trained individual to measure blood pressure
  • Low-cost system to regulate temperature in infant incubators
  • Microfluidic system to generate biodegradable micro/nanoparticles for drug delivery
  • Cell culture system to scale up production of adherent cells
  • Improved pump for endoscopy
  • Wireless pressure sensor for endotracheal tubes
  • Device to enable minimally-invasive surgery to treat gastro-esophageal reflux disease