Use design thinking to ideate, build and test an orthotic and learn about careers in STEM fields.

Bioengineering is changing our world and lives by the day, and the most impactful work in the field today is cross-disciplinary. From robotics to genetics to medical technology, STEM scientists are pushing the limits of the field (and in some cases, redefining them completely). Connect with industry leaders and explore careers in fields like biomechanics, prosthetics, tissue engineering and beyond. Network with future mentors and hone your foundational science and engineering skills. In this course, you’ll use simple materials to design, build and test an orthotic. Then, you and your team will present your creative solution to a panel of experts, receive valuable feedback, and maybe even use it to jumpstart your future in bioengineering.

This course meets daily for two hours.

In This Course You Will

  • Apply the iterative design process to build and test an orthotic device

  • Communicate innovative solutions, grounded in engineering principles to industry professionals

  • Network with experts working on cutting-edge research in STEM

Required Materials

This course requires students to have simple building materials such as cardboard, duct tape, tape measure, clamps and a screwdriver. All materials are available online or in craft or hardware stores. A detailed list can be found here.

To take advantage of all this course has to offer, we ask that students have access to a desktop or laptop computer and a stable internet connection. A printer is recommended, but not required.

Visiting Faculty + Advisors

Dr. Conor Walsh

Associate Professor of Engineering + Applied Sciences, Harvard University

Conor Walsh is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. He founded and directs the Harvard Biodesign Lab, which brings together researchers from the engineering, industrial design, apparel, clinical and business communities to develop new disruptive robotic technologies for augmenting and restoring human performance. This research includes new approaches to the design, manufacture and control of next generation wearable robotic devices and characterizing their performance through biomechanical and physiological studies so as to further the scientific understanding of how humans interact with such machines. Example application areas include enhancing the mobility of healthy individuals, restoring the mobility of patients with gait deficits and assisting those with upper extremity weakness to perform activities of daily living.

Tim Lewandowski

Certified Orthotist + Manager of Clinical Operations, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Tim Lewandowski, MHA, CO, is the Manager of Prosthetics and Orthotics Clinical Operations at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, IL. A Certified Orthotist, Tim’s clinical background is highly specialized in the fields of pediatric neuromuscular rehabilitation and advanced orthotic technology. Tim provides education at the international level with a focus on the role of specialized clinical services in the interdisciplinary care model for pediatric rehabilitation. Tim is also a contributing lecturer in graduate medical education at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Lauren Lyons

STEM Advocate + SpaceX Engineer

Lauren graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and a Certificate in bioengineering, and received her masters’ in Business and Government Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She has worked as a medical device R&D engineer for Medtronic, a science writer for the World Economic Forum, a Mars robotics engineer at NASA, and a leadership instructor at Harvard. Lauren currently works as an engineer at SpaceX, where she focuses on the certification and reliability efforts for the crewed Dragon spacecraft, bound for the International Space Station. A long time STEM advocate, she regularly engages in public outreach activities centered around getting young people excited about Space Exploration.

Dr. Brandon Green

Chief Medical Officer, Myomo, Inc.

Dr. Brandon Green is the Chief Medical Officer at Myomo, Inc., a medical robotics company in Cambridge, MA. Dr. Green is a licensed physician, with training in general surgery and physical medicine/rehabilitation and is board certified in prosthetics. He specializes in upper extremity prosthetic and orthotic rehab, and has diverse work experience in this space ranging from direct clinical care, academic lecturing, and technology research / development, to patient advocacy for access to insurance coverage from both public and private payers.