Senses and ScienceAbility: Compassionate Design Workshop

In this interactive workshop, students explored and engaged in the engineering design process through the design and testing of cribs to keep babies warm. The workshop began by discussing challenges some hospitals in Africa face to keep newborn babies warm. The exciting area of bio-inspired engineering design was explored by drawing inspiration from the warming abilities of penguins, which are remarkably talented at keeping their young warm, even in very cold climates. Using ideas inspired by penguins, students will spend the majority of the workshop designing and testing their own “warming crib” for newborn babies. Our babies were water bottles that were at about 98.7°F. VT researchers Ashley Taylor and Karis Sinkler-Boyd led these workshops to inspire and engage students who enjoy being caring and creative! Ashley Taylor, MSME, MPH and Karis Sinkler-Boyd, BS, are with the Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity at Virginia Tech.

We appreciate Carilion Children’s Outreach providing us the use of the giraffe bed for the day!



This is a crib designed by one of the students. The baby is tucked warmly inside!

Thanks to the partnership of these Virginia Tech researchers and Carilion Children’s Hospital.

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