Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Building and Designing Assistive Laboratory

Building and Designing Assistive Technology (BDAT) LaboratoryThe Building and Designing Assistive Technology (BDAT) Laboratory is headed by Dr. Claire Davies, assistant professor in Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen’s University. Dr. Davies, received $125,000 from CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (November 2016) to support this facility as a hub of interdisciplinary research in which medical technologies are designed with input from both engineers and clinicians.

Dr. Claire Davies interest in biomedical engineering was first sparked as a volunteer at Bloorview Children’s Hospital where she noted that the children she interacted with were restricted by the technology available to them. As such, these children were not able to have the same freedom as their peers without disabilities. This realization fueled her passion and shuttled her research into developing means by which to improve the lives with those with disabilities. As an assistant professor in Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen’s, her research is multifaceted, covering three main areas: biomaterials, motion analysis and assistive technology.


Stepping Game

The primary goal of research in the BDAT laboratory is to increase independence of those living with disability using an approach that takes into account perceptual and physical responses of all senses in order to create human-machine interfaces, which are accessible and easily navigated. As such, the BDAT laboratory integrates clinical evaluations into the design process, combining input from clinicians as well as engineers to optimize design of assistive technology. Moreover, an integral member of this multidisciplinary team is the end-user who works closely with the team to help create and evaluate a design which best suits their needs. "This laboratory environment is designed to provide a comfortable space for end-users, families and caregivers to work with engineers, prosthetists and therapists in designing and testing technologies to meet their own needs," says Dr. Davies. "This is the first laboratory of its kind to combine the concept of “makerspaces” with targeted research around evaluating user access mechanisms and designing assistive technology to meet the needs of individuals."

Through an increase in evidence-based clinical evaluations, it is hoped that the design of assistive technology will evolve from one that meets the needs of specific individuals, to one of universal design, to develop devices, which are easily utilized by all without adaptation. The ultimate goal is to increase the productivity of all individuals, and allow them to become confident and integral members of the community.

Funded by CFI - John R. Evans Leaders Fund