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Segal Design Projects

Featured student projects

The process of working on real projects for real clients is essential to the student experience at the Segal Design Institute.

Browse our projects gallery to see examples of past projects.

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First-Year Projects

The Slider

A specialized cup for rehabilitation patients who have difficulty swallowing.

Tackling dysphagia after a traumatic brain injury or a stroke.

The Slider is a student-designed specialized cup for patients at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago who have dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing.

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Roll N Wash

A wheelchair-activated foot pedal to turn on sinks at the Shedd Aquarium.

The Shedd Aquarium needed a wheelchair accessible temporary hand washing station outside of its stingray touch exhibit.

Student engineers created a wheel-chair activated foot pedal to turn on water at these temporary sinks.

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Lambs Locker

Lambs Locker

User-friendly lockers designed for the needs of adults with developmental disabilities

Undergraduate students developed a solution to help developmentally disabled residents at Lambs Farm access their personal possessions.

The students collaborated on an 18-cabinet, nearly hands-free system.

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Undergraduate Projects

Illuminating Test Strips for HIV Diagnostics

Rapid HIV testing for infants in Africa.

An HIV testing solution that rapidly test infants and those who live in inaccessible testing areas.

Three undergraduate students are working with a center housed within the McCormick School of Engineering to improve rapid HIV testing for infants in Africa.

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prototypes of NU PICC Simulator

NU PICC Simulator

A medical training device to help nurses place PICC lines in neonates.

A team of students developed a life-like doll with realistic tissue properties and vasculature geometry as well as pressurized veins.

Users can prick the doll’s arms or legs, witness “flashback” and then thread a PICC line into the body.

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Well Plate Assembly

Well Plate Assembly

Northwestern undergraduates partnered with NorthShore University Health System to make a positive impact in a medical research environment.

Using a well plate allows a lab at NorthShore University Health System to test thousands of compounds rapidly.

However, the process had a flaw, causing variable waviness in the plate. Northwestern Engineering students worked together to find a solution.

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Graduate Projects

NM Check mock-up

NM Check

A comprehensive virtual care system that brings healthcare to patients

Get the care you need without leaving your bed.

Four EDI students created a forward-thinking solution after Northwestern Medicine asked them to create a virtual care system that would increase the ability of its Primary Care Physicians to see more patients.

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The world’s most versatile ultra-lightweight lantern

Fire + Light

A graduate student studying biotechnology invented an innovative camping lantern for outdoor adventurers.

While camping, biotechnology graduate student Stephanie Wiegel discovered a ‘pain point’ associated with her headlamp.

A headlamp is essential for camping and hiking to ensure safety in the dark, but it has a spotty, harsh light which limits its uses for social lighting. How might this tool be improved?

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boost trekking pole


An energy-harvesting trekking pole designed for hikers and backpackers who bring their electronic devices into the backcountry

Charge your devices — even when you're off the grid.

An avid hiker, EDI graduate student Torey Kocsik wondered if she could passively power her electronic devices while walking in the backcountry.

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PhD Research Projects

Audience Interaction

A PhD student's work aims to understand the intersection of audience interactivity and canonical cultural products.

Creating meaningful audience experiences by evoking elements of new digital media forms.

As a complementary experiment in critical making, Elizabeth is designing and building Something Wicked, a video game adaptation of William Shakespeare’s gory, witchy tragedy, Macbeth.

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Surface Haptic Devices

A PhD student in the Neuroscience and Robotics Laboratory (NxR) designs, builds, and tests devices that provide haptic feedback on surfaces.

Touchscreen feedback.

We have built and distributed over 75 surface haptic devices to university and corporate researchers and designers and they have been used in competitions, workshops, classes, and publications.

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Visualizations of Audio

A PhD student works with Collablab and Delta Lab to develop visualization of audio by applying a computational model.

Creating visualizations of audio for multitrack audio.

His work helps audio engineers more efficiently mix multitrack audio, but the concept of visualizing models of perception extends beyond this application, and beyond just sound.

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