March 8, 2021
New BME spaces with educational and design focus poised to reshape Biomedical Engineering learning and teaching
It was announced in the Fall of 2019 that the first floor of the LBME building would receive a new 12,000 square feet, $5 million dollar renovation that would reinvent and redesign the BME Design Spaces with a focus on experiential teaching and learning. As of March 2021, the construction process is near completion, with only finishing touches left to implement.
Upon entering the Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building from the southern doorway, students and visitors are met with the redesigned BME Commons. This two-level atrium space encourages student interaction and collaboration, and provides an open area where community and scientific events can be held. Beyond the Commons is more open space with a kitchenette and student collaboration area, which can provide support for events as well as casual meetings. The area also includes three separate Student Huddles that offer televisual support and a more group-focused study experience compared to the openness of the Commons space.
A central open area houses four group workstations equipped with retractable computer monitors, allowing teams of students to work on projects together with full access to computing resources. This space also has moveable whiteboards and storage carts, allowing students to ideate and create simple prototypes as they work on their design projects.
The center of the BME Design Spaces is a Prototyping Hub where student teams can do more advanced fabrication and testing using hand tools and equipment. The hub has four butcher-block work stations, tool chests, wall-to-wall project storage lockers for student projects, and glass walls that serve as whiteboards. An annex to the room is equipped with an array of 3D printers with a range of capabilities, as well as an industrial-level sewing machine.
For larger prototyping and fabrication efforts, student teams can use the fabrication workshop, which will be developed into a machine shop as student needs evolve. It provides further space for fabrication and testing, as well as large floor-to-ceiling storage cages for materials and larger prototypes.
Students have access to a room outfitted similar to a hospital suite for interviews, usability testing, and performing human factors assessment of device prototypes. This room is also equipped with a monitor for collaborative work and future implementation of virtual reality tools.
A new active learning classroom facilitates a variety of class formats, group meetings, and student activities. The room houses 8 permanent computer workstations as well as up to 4 mobile computer workstations, and can accommodate 72 students (up to 12 teams) and 6 instructors in active learning mode. It can also be reconfigured for lectures with a capacity up to 60 students, or for larger seminars to hold up to 132 guests.
Experiential learning will be further facilitated through the Instrumentation Lab, which contains 8 workstations for circuit design and testing, as well as further electronic fabrication facilities. The Biomechanics & Biotechnology Lab has 8 workstations for biomechanical testing, as well as a newly added Cell & Tissue Culture facility with 4 biosafety cabinets, microscopes, incubators, and other equipment.
Conference and Meeting Spaces
The Design Spaces include a Student Conference Room for meetings up to 10 people with televisual support, as well as a larger ‘Multifunction Room’ that can be used for scientific meetings, Ph.D. defenses, and other departmental events. The room can hold up to 34 people and is equipped with full videoconferencing and lecture capture capabilities.
This exciting spatial and technological development will help to propel University of Michigan BME into the next stage of collaborative learning and discovery. Occupation of the new laboratory and collaboration spaces is currently underway and expected to be fully occupied starting with the Fall 2021 term.