Background Image

News & Events


Clarkson University Integrated Design Team Places 3rd in Competition

A Clarkson University integrated design team took third place in the sixth annual Undergraduate Design Project Competition in Rehabilitation and Assistive Devices, this summer.

SB3CHosted by the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3C), the competition was held in National Harbor, Md.

The project, "Substitute Voice Production via a Mechanically-Driven Artificial Larynx," was designed by mechanical engineering students Michael Baldwin '16, Erik Gillespie '16, Janet Hrdina '16, Kateri Kaminski '16 and Tyler Tuttle '16, as well as engineering & management student Evan Cody '16.

The project was directed by Assistant Professor of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Byron Erath.

The Clarkson design team presented a solution for a low-cost, mechanically-driven artificial larynx -- called a "mechanolarynx" -- that can be utilized to restore voiced speech to individuals who have undergone a laryngectomy. The device was designed to mimic the performance of a traditional electrolarynx while using only mechanical parts to ensure the device is cost-effective, thereby facilitating deployment to developing countries.

The students communicated with the Laryngectomy Support Group in Utica, N.Y., directed by Gordon Reitema, to determine end-user design recommendations. The final prototype demonstrated significant cost savings over traditional electrolarynx devices while also producing comparable voice restoration capabilities.

Six design team finalists were initially selected from more than 20 initial submissions based on a technical paper describing their proposed device and its impact on individual and public health. The paper addressed product need and market potential, development of a prototype device, and an economic plan for its commercialization based on market analysis. The final stage of the competition for the finalists at SB3C comprised an oral presentation and prototype demonstration by each design team.

As part of being selected as a finalist, the Clarkson team received a $3,000 award from the SB3C to offset the costs of traveling to the conference.  

The integrated design project was also supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (NSF-CBET 1510367) awarded to Clarkson University with principal investigator Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Laurel Kuxhaus, and co-principal investigators Erath and Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Kevin Fite.

More information about the competition can be found at .

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: The Clarkson University Integrated Design team placed third in the sixth annual Undergraduate Design Project Competition in Rehabilitation and Assistive Devices this summer. From left to right, Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Byron Erath, Kateri Kaminski '16, Erik Gillespie '16, Tyler Tuttle '16, Evan Cody '16 and Michael Baldwin '16. Not pictured is Janet Hrdina '16.

[Photograph for media use is available at ]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

Calendar View the full calendar >>

Full Calendar RSS Feed