Interview With Rose-Hulman Students on Daniel’s Prosthesis

I hope you’ve seen the new Siemens /answers Helping Hand video that came out a couple weeks ago.

The views keep growing – about 120,000 as I type this. Since it came out we’ve had a chance to get to know the students behind the design a little better. Jacob Price and Mark Calhoun graduated this past May from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with biomedical engineering degrees. (BTW, Rose-Hulman just got ranked No. 1 undergraduate engineering college again in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report college guidebook. That’s their 14th straight year. Go fightin’ engineers!)

After graduation, Jacob took a job as a validation engineer and Mark began graduate school at Ohio State University.

Tuesday night we attempted our first Google+ on air Hangout with Jacob and Mark. Despite some technical difficulties, you can hear more about why they chose engineering as a career, what it was like working with Daniel and how they approached the prosthesis design in Solid Edge.

For more about this story, here are some other articles.

See Kenneth Wong’s interview with Jacob and Mark – How Daniel Got His Pinchy, in which Mark noted:

“One of the biggest challenges was to figure out how [Daniel] would control the arm’s operations. Because if he cannot control it, there’s no point in wearing it.”

Kenneth highlights that “the use of 3D digital prototyping allowed the students to make sure they had sufficient clearances in their design to accommodate the electrical subsystems that would drive Pinchy’s movements.”

Rose-Hulman has a feature story on their website: Siemens Features Rose-Hulman Design Project in International Mini-Documentary Series. It has a quote from Daniel’s mom:
“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 affected all of us. Daniel loves Mark and Jacob, and really looks up to them. Daniel is so proud of ‘Pinchy,’ … and that he was able to be involved in every aspect of the design process. I think that really helped boost his self-confidence…. I hope that from this experience Daniel will grow up and do something like this for someone else.”

What advice would Mark and Jacob give new student engineers. Aside from learning to solder ;-), they shared this advice in the hangout:
Mark: “In doing this project, we definitely took on a lot of challenge…my advice would be to take our project and go even further with that…tackle the biggest challenge you can. The rewards are just amazing.”

Jacob: “You’re going to get this opportunity. Don’t take it for granted. Get into it. Learn something from it. It’s really cool to visualize something in your head, make it, and see it affect someone’s life.”

Many students do real-world projects in senior year. If you have the chance to be a part of any before that, do it. It’s hard work but will make your education so much more valuable.

– Dora

P.S. Here’ a picture of Mark and Jacob from the video – student engineer heros 😉

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