Information for Students


Term: Spring Term
Time: Monday & Wednesday 1:00 – 2:30 PM
Location: 3-270
Units: 3 – 0 – 9
Prerequisites: one of the following 2.007, 2.0082.009, 6.1016.1116.11522.071 or permission of instructor
2.750 is an alternative to the ME 2.009 requirement.

Course History – A. Slocum
Course Catalog Listing

Spring 2022 Syllabus

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Why should I take this course?

This course is designed to offer an industry-modelled, hands-on discover-design-demonstrate experience, while learning about the healthcare industry and medical devices in specific. This course is a good option if you want to:

  • Work on a real medical challenge
  • Learn the deterministic design process
  • Apply mechanical & electrical engineering principals
  • Prototype and test a solution to a clinical challenge
  • Learn about the healthcare industry from professionals
  • Develop your communication & presentation skills
  • Publish your work

Who can take this course?

Officially, this course is listed for Seniors and Graduate Students in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and HST, however, other majors are welcome and, in the past, have brought valuable talents to the projects. Juniors are accepted with advisor and instructor permission. LGOs, SDMs and Course 20 studnets have found interesing projects. Our goal is to make sure that you are prepared to succeed and we ask students to have a prior hardware / manufacturing / design / analysis background, from either a course or industry, and are ready for a capstone experience. Bring your (figurative or physical) toolbox and we will solve a clinical problem together!

If you are interested but unsure whether this course is a good fit, please do not hesitate to contact the instructors. We are happy (and it is our job!) to discuss your background and aspirations and, together, help you assess whether this course will be a good fit.

What is the course format and content?

In the first half of the semester lectures cover fundamental topics in mechanical and electrical engineering and the design process. In the second half they transition to focus on industry-specific topics and case studies. Brief in-class quizzes and short at-home assignments serve primarily as a feedback mechanism for both students and instructors. There are no tests.

Two labs involve building mechanical and electrical hardware, a kinetical coupling and an EKG, and the third a mechatronic medical device, a syringe pump. The goal of these labs is to demonstrate fundamental principles, ensure that everyone develops hands-on skills and intuition and build team skills. We provide space and help sessions for the first two labs, while the third is conducted in-class. All labs are completed by midsemester, so that you can focus on your projects.

Project challenges are sourced competitively from clinical and industry professionals who will present these projects to you the second and third classes. You will have the opportunity to ask questions, discuss with your peers and then indicate your project preferences. We ask that you select projects based on both your skills, interests and backgrounds. We will form teams of 3 – 5 students each. For the next 12 weeks we will work on these projects together, following a Deterministic Design process. Each project proposer commits to supporting and meeting with their team. Additionally, each team will be supported by one or more mentors from the course staff who will meet with you every week. We will work with you to brainstorm solutions, keep on track and locate the resources that your specific project needs. The goal is to arrive at the end of the semester with a proof-of-concept prototype medical device and appropriate analysis, documentation, testing and an honest (positive or negative) assessment of the results.

This is a communications intensive class and each team will present their progress three times during in-class design reviews. These provide the opportunity for feedback from the entire class. End of semester deliverables include: a final presentation, a conference/journal format paper and a one-page poster/summary. Frequently, final papers are submitted for publication.

For more detail, please consult the Syllabus.

Can I continue my project post class?

Select projects, where students and clinicians remain engaged, may be invited to continue to evolve from a proof-of-concept to beta prototype, conduct testing submit a journal paper and develop a path forward for the project.

Up to 12 units of 2.996 may be offered and for Course 2 seniors this may count as a senior thesis.

COVID Policy

We will make every effort this semester to provide in-person instruction, pending MIT spring term policy. Since we can expect that there will be COVID cases or close contacts, amongst students or instructors, we are preparing to support remote learning too. We successfully completed the 2020 fall course with a mixture of Zoom lectures, in-person team meeting and FedEx. While we can’t anticipate every scenario this Spring, we can promise to be flexible and work with individuals and teams to succeed together.