Assistant Professor Jeffrey LaBelle has no problem getting students to attend his class of Biomedical Engineering Product Design and Development III. “I usually have 100 percent attendance in my class Friday mornings at 8 a.m.,” said Professor Labelle of the School of Biological Health and Systems Engineering and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.
LaBelle uses games to help teach engineer students how to design prototype medical devices. The students form teams and build real board games that enable students to keep focused on the process while learning team building, design, and collaboration.
The game teaches students how to take a concept through prototyping, which can be applied to the development of medical devices.
LaBelle recruits judges from different sectors of the business world, like Remy Turner of BioAccel, for the students to pitch their game ideas. These judges help improve the quality of engineers that are coming out of Arizona State University by giving back to the educational community their input on projects like this.
“Someone may come in as an engineer. We had one from IBM who loves to play games,” LaBelle said. “They looked at it from an engineering standpoint, how well is it put together, but then they looked at it from a gaming standpoint; Is it fun?”
All the students managed to put together very professional-looking board games using 3-D printers, a laser cutter and an injection molder – all tools of the trade in medical device design.