Electrical and Computer Engineering

College of Engineering and Applied Science

Undergraduate Design Projects to Aid Wyoming Persons with Disabilities

Project Sponsored by the National Science Foundation,
Biomedical Engineering Program and Research to Aid Persons with Disabilities Program (BME/RAPD)

Primary Investigator : Steven F. Barrett, Ph.D., P.E.,
Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bioengineering Option


The purpose of this program is to provide a meaningful design experience for University of Wyoming, College of Engineering students that will directly aid individuals with disabilities within the state of Wyoming.  This program will provide a vital link between the University’s talented students and individuals with assistive technology needs.  Students will create and provide prototype, custom-designed assistive devices to enhance the quality of life for the individual.

Project Identification

To accomplish these objectives the College of Engineering has partnered with the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) Assistive Technology Program (WYNOT) as well as with the university’s Special Education Department.

The WIND Project Director, Dr. Sandra Root-Elledge, Ph.D.serves as the coordinator with the community to identify specific assistive technology needs.  WIND will also provide training to the engineering students regarding assistive devices and services. In addition, the project will assist students with research activities through their AT Information and Referral program. Project proposals may be initiated by the individual with a disability, his/her family members, caregivers, teachers, or any of the service agencies in the state of Wyoming.  A short project application is used to identify the desired assistive device and the special needs of the individual.  Contact Ms. Root-Elledge at (307)766-2764 or email: sre@uwyo.edu.

Undergraduate Design Projects to Aid Wyoming
Persons with Disabilities program flow.

Project Assignment and Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Once a project is determined to be of suitable scope for an undergraduate design project (one that can be completed by an undergraduate student, or a small team of students in one year), the PI will coordinate with the appropriate engineering department(s) to assign the project to an interdisciplinary student design team.   Each student team will also be assigned a discipline specific faculty mentor(s).  This process is illustrated in the Figure.

Overall, an individual with a disability will be linked with a student engineering team to provide a prototype custom designed assistive device specific to his/her needs.

The student teams first priority will be to complete a project proposal for review and approval by the Institutional Review Board for Projects Involving Human Subjects.  The proposal will be completed in accordance with established IRB guidelines.


As part of the senior design course, the students are required to design projects using the scientific method and established engineering procedures.  Students must defend the design as part of the senior design process.  Once the design has been implemented it will be thoroughly tested prior to use by the recipient.  The faculty mentor will also be heavily involved during the testing phase of the project.  Safety of the project user is paramount.  Safety features must be designed into the project in accordance with associated industrial safety guidelines and procedures.

Project List
Provided here is a list of projects that have been submitted and their current status (link).

Final Project Reports
Provided here is a brief final report on projects completed to date:

"Life's a Switch" Workshop Manual
For an electronic copy of the switch workshop manual, please contact:

Dr. Steven Barrett, Ph.D, P.E.
Associate Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
College of Engineering
Dept. 3295, 1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-3295
(307) 766-6181

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