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An End of Semester Synopsis…

First I just want to say… RehabiliBike won 3rd place in the poster competition! This was quite an honor and I’m happy to have my efforts noticed. Thank you to all that showed interests and asked such great questions during the competition.

The semester has ended, and with it so has Senior Capstone Design. The semester was long and difficult, but also rewarding. I want to highlight the “lessons learned” this semester as well as discuss what lies ahead for the RehabiliBike Project.

  • I am and will always be a “sensor junkie.”
    • The project helped me realized how much I enjoy working with sensors and using them to gain a better insight into how we interact with our environment.
    • While as humans we tend to “filter out” incoming data that may not be important at a given time, sensors do not judge what is or isn’t important. As such they provide a window into the complex relationship of human, environment and technology.
    • There will always be a better sensor. Sensors are not perfect and as such we as engineers must decide what performance specification we are willing to forfeit in order to obtain what is most important.
  • Respect the end user.
    • At the early stages of the project I was obsessed with the engineering aspects of the design. However, after speaking with Dr. Stephanie Carey of USF’s Center for Assistive, Rehabilitation and Robotics Technologies (CARRT) I realized that I must first focus on how the end user will interact with RehabiliBike. This completely changed my design approach. Thank you Dr. Carey for your extremely helpful insights.
  • System Engineering is my new best friend…
    • While I have never been one to shy away from writing a paper or two, I never truly appreciated System Engineering until I started this project.
    • Documents such as requirements documents, specification requirements, testing requirements, and Concept of Operations (CONOPS) reports provide project managers, investors, and end users valuable insight into your project. It also makes the engineer more aware of their project from a top-down view. This helps keep things in perspective since it is very easy to get bogged down in the finer details!
  • What lies ahead…
    • While the semester is indeed over, my work with RehabiliBike is not. I plan to move to the next phase of the project.
    • The overall design can be made smaller by designing an embedded system on a single PCB. I also want to use a stronger motor so that user with a larger body weight can still use RehabiliBike.
    • Incorporating heart rate, breath rate and body temperature sensors into the system will provide more useful data for the rehabilitation specialist to analyze.
    • While the wood mount is nice, having a stronger, light-weight metal mount fabricated will be better for the long term; it will also reduce the size.

These are all just a few thoughts that I wanted to share. I hope to be providing news of more progress in future!