A Case Study in Creative Problem Solving in Engineering Design

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Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


The senior design sequence at Louisiana State University is a two semester, design, build and test experience. Groups of two, three or four students work together in a team setting to produce a functioning prototype which meets predetermined design goals. One particular project, which had as its goal the requirement to extend the reach of an occupant confined to a standard sized wheelchair, was used as a mechanism to integrate the development of critical and creative thinking skills necessary to solve technical problems into the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum. Special attention was paid to the nature of creativity and exercises were introduced in order to facilitate this historically neglected aspect of engineering education. The result of this effort was a unique wheelchair, which provides the occupant access to shelves located over their head or objects on the floor via an adjustable height seat.

Publication Title

Journal of Engineering Education