Tools for Biomedical Engineering Education Developed for Students, by Students
Meghan Brown posted on September 08, 2017 | 933 views
Orlando Hoilett, a Purdue biomedical engineering doctoral student, founded Calvary Engineering to develop engineering educational tools. (Image courtesy of Purdue.)

Orlando Hoilett, a Purdue biomedical engineering doctoral student, founded Calvary Engineering to develop engineering educational tools. (Image courtesy of Purdue.)

There’s a gap between the fields of engineering and the learning resources available to students studying these fields. As a doctoral student and teaching assistant in Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Orlando Hoilett has noted a specific deficit in the resources for bioengineering students.

“I have seen other companies create learning technologies and teaching equipment geared toward electrical engineering and computer engineering students,” he said. “My goal is to provide the same opportunities to biomedical engineering students to fill this gap.”

To that end, Hoilett founded Calvary Engineering LLC, a company to provide biomedical engineering students a variety of education tools and devices, designs and tutorials, all to encourage a more hands-on learning experience.

“Personally, I learned a lot of engineering concepts by building something and then learning the different theories behind it. As a teaching assistant, I want to give the same opportunity to students to help them learn better and succeed during their time at Purdue and in the real world,” Hoilett said.

“The company is all about active learning, so we provide a way for students to see how something is built with schematics and diagrams, so they can really understand from an engineering standpoint what goes into each specific build. Everything we provide is all open source so students have the ability to remix and share their own inventions,” he added.

One of the projects Calvary Engineering has developed Is a device called the LiPo Battery Breadboard Power Supply.

“It is a simple LiPo battery breakout that fits snugly on a standard-size breadboard, providing power to rails on both sides of the board, which is currently being marketed,” Hoilett said. “This lithium polymer battery breadboard easily powers breadboard projects without the need to use a bulky desktop power supply. This product would be very beneficial to students and hobbyists.”

LiPo battery breadboard power supply. (Image courtesy of Calvary Engineering.)
LiPo battery breadboard power supply. (Image courtesy of Calvary Engineering.)

Another project Calvary Engineering is developing is called a Mood Badge, specifically for students and other patients who are in extended hospital stays. The badge works by having emoji-like faces programmed into the wearable device to display how they are feeling at any given point during the day. It Is Intended to help those who interact with patients understand how they are feeling based on the face on the badge.

This kind of project is especially useful as an educational tool for bioengineering students, since one of the main goals in bioengineering is satisfying the intersecting needs of medical devices, medical practitioners and patients.

"We teach students or patients how to build the Mood Badge, what hardware components go into it, what software components go into it and how to configure games that are also enabled in the device,” Hoilett said. “We’re hoping in the future the Mood Badge will allow patients to input their own faces and games, which will personalize them. This type of thing is similar to Maker Therapy, the initiative that brings maker materials to children’s hospitals.”

Companies like Calvary Engineering are great examples of engineers doing what they do best: seeing a need and finding a way to fulfill it. By enabling engineering students to have access to educational devices, and opportunities to gain real-world experience designing, building and using these tools, Calvary is making sure that these future engineers are prepared for their careers.

To learn more, visit the Purdue College of Engineering, or the Calvary Engineering website.

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