Information for Students


Course Numbers: 2.75, 2.750, 6.4861, 6.4860, HST.552 – all meet jointly
Term: Spring Term
Time: Monday & Wednesday 1:00 – 2:30 PM
Location: 3-270
Units: 3 – 3 – 6
Prerequisites: one of the following 2.007, 2.0082.009, 6.1016.1116.11522.071 or instructor permission.
Note: These pre-requisites are guidelines and we recognize that students at MIT have a diversity of experiences, so please see “Who can take this course?” below.
Undergraduates: 2.750 fulfills both the Institute CI-M requirement and the MechE capstone requirement and is an alternative 2.009.

Syllabus: Download the most current version

Course Catalog Listing

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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 in general and medical devices in specific.
This course is a good option if you want to:

  • Work on a real medical / health / wellness 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
  • Potentially 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 students have found interesting 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.

Labs involve building mechanical and electrical hardware, specifically, a kinetical coupling, an EKG, and 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 special 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.

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.

For students continuing at MIT, we may be able to arrange credit as an Independent Study for substantial continued contribution. This must be arranged with the instructors, your department and the project proposer post completion of the course.

COVID & Health Concerns

As per MIT Spring 2023 guidance, all instruction will be in person.

In case of a change in the situation, we may make a Zoom feed available on an as-needed basis. While we can’t anticipate every scenario this Spring, we can promise to be flexible and work with individuals and teams to succeed together. The key is to communicate any concerns in advance.