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/ME 105

Syllabus (pdf)
Schedule (xls)
Background Materials
Class Trips

E 102a

E 102b

E/ME 103

Useful Links




E/ME 105: Product Design for the Developing World


This website page has been updated and the content will reflect the current course. We had our first class yesterday and we're off to a great start!


The class is traveling by car pool to Downey to arrive at 2:30 PM (or as soon after as possible) We will be hosted by Phil Requejo and Andy Lin our partners for this Class. We will meet practitioners and people with disabilities. The purpose is to acquaint the Caltech and Art Center students with a range of areas for the class teams to attack. When the meeting ends at 5:00 PM we will have dinner locally for all those who would like to participate and review what we have learned.


This is a Design 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 last winter- much closer- to Downey and "Design for Independence from Disability" All of the projects were generated by Rehabilitation Specialists and the patients themselves.

The class was taught in partnership with Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (RLANRC) in Downey, California and co-taught with Philip Requejo, PhD (Rehabilitation Engineering) and Andrew Lin, MS Center for Applied Rehabilitation Technology (CART). Nathan Allen from Art Center lectured and Art Center students participated as well on Teams.

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

The Caltech Poster session Final was reported on by the Pasadena News which describes the projects in the students words.

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!

In the (Spring) Issue of ENGenius, see "Bridging the Gap" by Katie Neith

One thing everyone agreed upon was that we needed more time!

Thus, the Class will be run for both the winter through the Spring Quarters 2016. We're all very excited to see what the students will come up with!