College - Author 1
College of Engineering
Department - Author 1
Biomedical Engineering Department
Alan Zhang, College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
CENG Dean's Club for Innovation DEI Funding
Many engineering professionals believe that discussions surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and social justice do not belong in engineering because engineering is supposed to be a neutral or objective field. Through an extensive review of the literature and a survey sent out to potential users, the need for DEI in engineering was examined. Many current engineering projects do not take into consideration social justice principles which leaves certain groups further marginalized and disempowered while empowering a select few. Engineering has the opportunity to be a field of service, but first risks and benefits must be weighed and the outcome of enhancing human capacities must be valued over monetary gain. For example, this project was dedicated to applying DEI efforts to engineering an upper limb exoskeleton. In this case, the exoskeleton enhances a person’s capabilities by enhancing their natural arm movement. In order to equitably design our exoskeleton we considered user needs from the very beginning through empathy mapping and surveying potential users. The results that we have gathered thus far suggest that potential users care foremost about cost and secondly about the comfort and fit of the device. Moving forward it is crucial that we implement design choices that reflect the value of the potential users to ensure that the device we create is attainable and usable while offering a sustainable solution to users.
October 1, 2023.