Student Conversation - Stephen Williams
"This work is not just a response to the world, but a way of improving it. Particularly medical devices, everything we do here is to improve quality of life. It’s far more important to have a comfortable medical tool than a comfortable games controller."
On his degree:
I came from a four year undergrad in mechanical engineering in UCD. I was working as an engineer in the oil and gas industry which was a bit mind numbing. I’ve always had an interest in medical devices and wanted to get more focus on this and this course is exactly what I was looking for. It is a great combination of technical skills and the design process. For an engineer it’s been a particularly valuable experience. Coming in as an engineer, it has been a really steep learning curve. I was relishing the opportunity and I have gone from being a novice to being proficient in such a short space of time.
Each project is divided into different phases. With research, a lot of this is about user feedback, talking to people who use/teach the device. There are so many iterations that can come from this, handling, form, shapes - as an engineer this method was unheard of.
Learning from the other students who have had design backgrounds has been hugely beneficial as has presenting to clients. Finding your level of comfort in this area has also been quite daunting. The list is endless of all the things you learn from this course.
On global impact:
This work is not just a response to the world, but a way of improving it. Particularly medical devices, everything we do here is to improve quality of life. It’s far more important to have a comfortable medical tool than a comfortable games controller. You know it’s only now that the medical profession are realising and acknowledging design is critical.
One thing we do is go down and observe medical staff and surgeons in action and from this we gain really good insights. From our subsequent storyboards the surgeons can see the inconveniences they go through and don’t even realise it. Being in their environment is a big part of our research.