Ken Pickar
Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering

California Institute of Technology
208 Gates-Thomas, Mail Code 104-44
Pasadena, CA 91125
(626) 395-4185


E/MedE/ME 105

Background Materials

E/ME 103

Useful Links




E/MedE/ME 105 Design for Freedom From Disability


We had our first class yesterday and are looking forward to an exciting adventure in Design!


This is a Class with a long history, morphing from a straight "Engineering Design" challenge for 5 years, in Collaboration with Art Center - to "Design for the Developing World" where we took students to Guatemala and conducted the Class originally in collaboration with Universidad Landivar every year for 5 years, then to Kerala India for 5 years and to ITT Gandhinagar for 2 years.

We then went two years ago- much closer- to Downey, California and "Design for Freedom from Disability" All of the projects here were generated by Rehabilitation Specialists and the patients themselves.

The class was thus taught in partnership with Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (RLANRC) in Downey, California and co-taught with Andrew Lin, MS Center for Applied Rehabilitation Technology (CART).

Our guest speakers included people who had to our eyes very difficult challenges. But their human spirit when connected through existing appliances inspired us all.

The students designed 7 products to aid people who are elderly or handicapped.These projects included:

Wheelchair for patients with hemiplegia
Pressure ulcer prevention system
Low cost tablet computer mount
Weatherproof wheelchair canopy
3d Printed prosthetic tools
Open source eyetracking software
Ergonomic crutch foot

There was a second Final where the students presented their results at Rancho to their collaborators and future users. It was a very exciting event!

One thing everyone agreed upon was that we needed more time! Thus, the Class was run for both the winter through the Spring Quarters 2016 and then 2017. We are now starting the class again for 2018.


We will be traveling by car pool to Downey on Jan 11 to visit from 3:00 to 5:30 PM. We will meet practitioners and people with disabilities. The purpose is to acquaint the Caltech students with a range of areas for the class teams to form around and attack.