Undergraduate students from North America engaged in design projects related to rehabilitation or assistive devices during the current (2019-2020) academic year are encouraged to submit an abstract of their design project to the 2020 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3C).

The top six finalists will be given an opportunity to present their work during a special podium presentation at the conference. Pending NSF funding, the top six teams will receive financial support to offset prototype costs and conference travel costs.

The objectives of this undergraduate design competition are to showcase the undergraduate design work, give students an opportunity to describe their work, and provide a chance to meet professionals in the bioengineering field.

The deadline for submission is February 14, 2020.



See below for the full instructions and rules of the Undergraduate Design Competition.

Any device related to rehabilitation science or assistive technologies will be eligible for the competition. This definition is broadly interpreted to include any device that helps people perform activities otherwise difficult for them, due to a disability temporary or permanent. This includes devices that aid people with disabilities, help people recover from an injury, or enhance physical or mental capabilities of healthy individuals. If the team is uncertain if a device meets the criteria, please contact the organizer, Michael R. Moreno, PhD.

Projects must have a significant novel design component and cannot simply be a presentation of data from an existing device or strictly a research project. The abstract of the design proposal will be judged based on its merits as a proposed device to solve a problem, while the presentation competition at the conference will be judged based on the actual realization of the product or a prototype of the product. The duration of the project (semester or yearlong) at the student’s institution is not important providing it will be completed during the current academic year.

Any individual or team of undergraduate students within North America who are graduating no earlier than the summer prior to the competition will be welcome to submit a design proposal abstract. The students do not need to be enrolled in a course or completing the project as part of their curriculum to be considered. All majors will be welcome to submit an abstract. The project must be initiated and completed during the academic year that precedes the conference. For example, for the 2020 competition this would be between June 2019 and June 2020; ongoing projects will not be eligible. There is no limit to the number of students on the team.

If selected as one of the top six teams, at least one member of the design team must register for and attend the 2020 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) to present their work and attend the banquet to accept their award. All students on the abstract should be undergraduates at the time the project was completed.

Students must submit a two-page abstract by February 14, 2020. To prepare the abstract students should use the Abstract template available on this webpage. Abstracts that do not meet the two-page limit, or do not fit the scope of rehabilitative/ assistive devices will not be reviewed. Students with any concerns about the abstract submission should contact the organizer, Michael R. Moreno, PhD.

All abstracts are be submitted via OpenConf: https://www.openconf.org/SB3C2020/

  1.       Under Authors, click “Make Submission”
  2.       Fill out all the information on this form.
    1.      Make sure to enter the title with only the first letter of each word capitalized
    2.      Under Topic Areas, select the last option “Undergraduate Design Competition”
    3.       Do not select anything in the Student Paper Competition Box
    4.      Enter a password that you will remember – you will need this to upload your abstract
  3.       Click “Make Submission”
  4.       After you submit this form, go back to the main page: https://www.openconf.org/SB3C2020/
  5.       Under Authors, click “Upload File”
  6.       Enter your submission ID and password and then upload the 2 page PDF file
  7.       Click “Upload File”
  8.       You will be able to edit the submission until February 14th. If you cannot figure something out in OpenConf, email program@sb3c.org or info@sb3c.org for help.

The scoring rubric that has been established and used for scoring the abstract submissions in the past years of the competition will be used this year as well. The rubric includes the following assessment categories.

  1. Product need and market potential – How well does the team describe the overall product need and the specific requirements for their device as specified by the customers? Both qualitative and quantitative requirements should be described. Has the team explained the potential market for such a device? The size and demographics of the potential market should be supplied, as well as a clear explanation as to why the proposed device fits the needs of that market.
  2. Device utility and novelty – How well does the team describe their proposed design and how well it satisfies the customers’ needs? Have they described the current state of art and how their product fits into the existing market? What aspects of the proposed design make it especially useful and novel when compared to the existing market?
  3. Technical feasibility – Is the proposed design based on logical and sound engineering analysis and judgment? Has the team addressed the major technical challenges and demonstrated a reasonable plan for solving them?
  4. Budget and economic plan– Is the proposed budget for the prototype device reasonable and does the long-term economic plan for the product fit with the customer and market requirements?

Writing clarity and style – Is the two-page abstract clearly written? Is the language clear and free of grammatical and spelling errors? Are the concepts and ideas conveyed clearly and concisely to an engineering audience?

By mid-March, the top six finalists will be identified. Pending NSF funding, the institutions for each of the top six finalists will receive a monetary award of up to $3,000 per team to support student travel to the SB3C2020 Conference. These funds will be sent to the team’s University for distribution (funds cannot be distributed to units other than an academic institution). It is expected that each of the top six projects will have a physical realization of their design and a functioning prototype used to evaluate the success of the design by the time of the conference. Teams are encouraged to bring their product to the conference, but are not required to do so particularly if the device is difficult to transport – they may demonstrate their product through other means, such as a video. At least one student representative from each of the top six design teams must register for the conference and attend their presentation day and the banquet. The top six teams will have their abstract published in the conference proceedings.

High scoring abstracts that were not selected as finalists may be invited to present their work as a poster at the conference, however funding will not be provided for posters.

Each of the six finalists in the rehabilitation and assistive devices undergraduate design competition will present their results in a special podium session during the SB3C 2020 conference. All presenters must register for the conference (the entire team may attend or only a portion of the team). Each student team will be given approximately a 15-minute period to describe their work. This may be the first public disclosure of the project for intellectual property concerns. Presentations will be judged as described (below). The scores from the written design reports will not be used to select the winners from the presentations. First, second, and third place will be announced at the conference banquet.
Once at the conference, the six finalists will present their work in a special podium session where they will be judged by a panel of faculty and industrial representatives. Student teams will each be given approximately 15 minutes to present their work (12 minute presentation, 3 minute Q&A). A scoring rubric will be used to score each presentation. The rubric includes the following five assessment categories.

  1. Product need and market potential – How well does the team describe the requirements and the potential market for the device they have designed?
  2. Device description – How well does the team describe their solution to the design problem? Does the product satisfy the specific customer requirements and a demonstrated market need in a unique way? Is the concept novel and patentable? If so, has it already been submitted for protection or are there plans to do so?
  3. Device performance – How well does the team demonstrate the actual performance of the product? How well does the team describe the product performance compared to stated requirements and predicted capabilities? How well has the team identified limitations in the design and proposed solutions?
  4. Economic plan – How well did the team follow the proposed budget? Is there a reasonable plan to increase production of the device (i.e. have issues associated with mass production been addressed)? Has the team presented a reasonable economic plan for commercialization, or at least considered that major challenges in doing so?
  5. Presentation clarity and style – Is the design project clearly delivered and the presentation made in a professional manner? Does the presenter do a good job answering questions? Are the slides clear and free of grammatical and spelling errors and the concepts and ideas conveyed concisely to an engineering audience?

The judges’ scores will be collected and tabulated. At the conference banquet, first, second, and third place will be announced. All finalists will receive certificates and the top three teams will receive plaques.

Questions about the Undergraduate Design Project Competition in Rehabilitation and Assistive Devices should be submitted to the competition organizer for SB3C2020, Michael R. Moreno, PhD.


Michael R. Moreno, Ted Conway