Courses and Activities

ES51: Computer-Aided Machine Design

ES51 is an introductory course in the design and construction of mechanical and electromechanical devices. Intended for prospective and newly declared engineering undergraduates, the course teaches fundamental engineering design principles and provides hands-on experience with the design process from initial ideation to final product. Students learn and apply various skills including engineering graphics and sketching using professional solid modeling CAD software, rapid prototyping with laser cutting and 3D-printing, machining starting with basic tools such as the drill press and bandsaw and progressing to CNC milling, analysis for materials selection and failure prediction, the use of various machine elements and kinematic mechanisms, and general design methodology. The course culminates in a team-based all-terrain vehicle competition which gives students the chance to showcase the design skills they have learned over the semester.



ES100: Engineering Design Projects

ES100 is a project-based senior design capstone experience for all Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) students seeking a Bachelor of Science degree. Students apply their previous three years of knowledge to develop a solution to an open-ended engineering problem, which is demonstrated at the end of the course. Each year, the Biodesign lab supports several students who have chosen projects related to medical devices, providing both mentorship and access to advanced resources for prototyping and fabrication. Working closely with Professor Walsh and ES100 Staff, these students independently identify design concepts and requirements, develop proof of concept prototypes and conduct qualitative tests to assess achievement of design goals.



ES227: Medical Device Design

Medical Device Design (ES227) is a project-based graduate-level mechanical design course. Student teams work with clinicians to develop novel medical devices. The teams follow a design process that includes needs finding, problem definition, prior art search, concept generation, analysis, prototyping, and testing. The course culminates in a presentation of the final designs to an invited audience of faculty, clinicians, and engineers from the medical device industry. Students write a publication quality final paper which they are encouraged to submit to a conference or journal. For a brief review of the course from a graduate student perspective from both a faculty and graduate student perspective please refer to this article.


Since its inception in 2011, ES227 has been offered four times, producing sixteen projects, several of which have continued beyond the semester scope of the course. These projects have led to eleven IEEE and ASME conference publications, three ASME Journal of Medical Devices publications, four provisional patent applications, and three full patent applications. Students have won five international student design competitions from ASME Design conferences and placed as finalists at the National Collegiate Inventors Competition. In addition, licensing discussions are ongoing for two projects. For additional information about the course, including past projects and publication, go here.


ES234: Technology Venture Immersion

Using a learning-by-doing approach, student teams work on their own prototype development and venture concepts in this intensive immersion course. The course conveys concepts and builds skills required in early stage technology ventures, including problem finding (human-centered design, customer discovery), solution finding (ideation methods, sketch prototyping, user testing), design (conceptual and detailed), early stage prototyping of product concepts (hardware and software), business model validation (hypothesis generation, minimum viable products, lean experimentation), sales and marketing methods, venture financing, and team building and leadership skills. Enrollment limited to first year MS/MBA students only. ES 234

The Technology Venture Immersion course is part of Harvard's new MS/MBA program. The first offering of ES234 in 2019 garnered glowing feedback from students and collaborators alike. See articles below for a detailed profile of the course from insider and outsider perspectives.



India Global Immersion

Now in its 3rd year, the Global Immersion program aims to teach students how to innovate affordable new medical technologies. The program brings together a diverse set of Harvard students from university-wide with interests in design, engineering, healthcare, and South Asia, who work in teams alongside faculty, physicians and engineering students in low resource environments. In collaboration with partnering institutions in India, students interact directly with the stakeholders to understand social, regulatory or other drivers such as technical requirements of the project. Administered by the Harvard South Asia Institute (SAI) and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), this 3-month summer project-oriented experience provides students with a hands-on design and entrepreneurial focused research project in India. More information can be found here.