Formal Design Projects (FDP)

These year-long Formal Design Projects (FDP) aim to create a personalized device that improves the quality of life of a disabled community member. Teams consist of one team lead and 4-7 team members, chosen by an application and interview process. Students of all majors and experience levels are welcome to apply.

 2020 - 2021 (Current) 


Follow this link to a news show that broadcasted a feature story on Beth Parrish regarding her journey with sepsis that began in 2016.


Beth Parrish is looking for engineers to design her a device that gives her left hand the basic dexterity and strength required to hold objects like clothing, a dish, or a piece of fruit. Such a device could also provide Beth with the ability to type on a keyboard--the possibilities are endless.


Follow this link to a news show that broadcasted a feature story on Beth Parrish regarding her journey with sepsis that began in 2016.


Additionally, Beth is looking for a prosthetic that she can use with her right arm to improve the utility of her left hand. Ideally, such a device would enable her to hold a fruit while her left hand cuts it with a knife, or hold a dish while her left hand washes it with a sponge. Such a device would not only return independence to Beth, but also hope.


Sheri is a Cal Poly Alumni, who has recently been diagnosed with degenerative spine disorder and facet sclerosis l5-s1. She has a passion for gardening, however due to this diagnosis she is unable to bend over and lift heavy objects. Sheri suffers from chronic pain due to a lack of lower back support due to joint degeneration. She is looking for a back brace that will give her lower lumbar support, allowing her to bend over to dig, plant, weed, and lift objects with more support that will help her keep gardening for many years to come. Additionally, in order to assist in pain relief and prevent further degeneration, Sheri is looking for a brace or other means to support her while she works from home at her desk.


Clinton, the thirteen year old maltese-poodle mix and beloved pet of current Cal Poly student Razan Turminini, was recently diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease which has significantly deteriorated his vision over the past year. Although Clinton now lives a more relaxed lifestyle, he still struggles with mobility issues because of his tendency to stumble into walls, screen doors, legs, the family’s outdoor pool, and anything in his way. Like any blind dog owner, Razan was hoping to find a sensory device that will allow Clinton (and hopefully other dogs) to navigate the world in a gentle, collision-free fashion. 

Click on the pictures below to learn more about previous FDPs!

 2019 - 2020 

 2018 - 2019 

Wheelchair for Chase and Carson

Chase and Carson Miller, ages five and six, are two fun and playful boys. They were born with MEPAN syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that hinders their muscular strength and coordination Their condition makes it difficult to for them to walk without a walker, let alone explore outside. Their parents are looking for a light, yet durable wheelchair that will allow them to traverse rougher terrains and see nature.

Team Leader: Michael Charonnat (3rd year ME)

Team Members:

  • Natalie Lewis (3rd year ME)

  • Ella Mahood (2nd year BMED)

  • Hailey Earnest (2nd year ME)

  • Kyle Ladtkow (2nd year ME)

  • Benjamin Reed (1st year ME)

  • Jake Javier (2nd year BMED)

 2017 - 2018 

 2016 - 2017 

 2015 - 2016 

 2014 - 2015 

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