Rotary supports U of A students

Left to right: University of Arizona students Olivia Talarico and Genevieve Wahlert with Doug May, President of the Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke.

Doug May

Two engineering students from the University of Arizona spoke to The Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke. They have completed an Engineering Design course as seniors. Each is graduating and moving on to further studies. Two young ladies, Olivia Talarico and Genevieve Wahlert, were members of a five person interdisciplinary design team. This team designed and constructed a medical support system that simulates human foot motion. It will aid a surgeon in comparing a model foot with a normal gait to a foot that needs corrective surgery. Model adjustment lets surgeons make decisions and test corrective action before actual surgery. Mechanical actuators, electronic controls and connecting cords simulate muscles and tendons. Coordinated action gives an artificial or cadaver foot normal human movement.

Olivia and Genevieve described their design work and the experience they gained in the course. In addition to designing, each team applied project management methods. They needed to purchase parts and materials and complete fabrication processes while meeting schedule and budget constraints. A laboratory director, who is also a medical doctor and surgeon, sponsored this project. The team made significant progress for the laboratory and system refinements will continue.

Over one hundred different design projects were displayed on the UA campus on Design Day, April 29. Teams of engineering seniors designed prototypes for sponsors that met the sponsors’ engineering requirements. These projects gave students valuable experience with challenging, real-world problems. This Capstone course is the culmination of four years of undergraduate engineering study.

Rotary Club President Doug May works for UA as a lecturer, and he mentored this team. Design Day is at the end of the spring semester each year, and it is open to the public. For anyone interested in seeing a science-fair-on-steroids, these are great events.

This is just one of the many fascinating programs we enjoy weekly at the Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke. We meet Thursdays for lunch at 11:30 a.m. at SaddleBrooke One. For more information, contact Wendy Guyton at 520-404-5712 or [email protected].