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Spring 2014: Engineering Health II
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Engineering Health II: Understanding & Designing Affordable Health Solutions

Course number: (Graduate and Undergraduate) MAS.S65

InstructorsRamesh Raskar, Anshuman Das, Richard Fletcher, Pratik ShahJohn MacDonald

Class Meeting Time and Location:

Lectures and Discussions        T4:30-6, E14-525

Prerequisites: This course has no explicit prerequisites, but it is assumed that students taking the course have completed some basic courses in science or engineering. Semester projects can be completed through interdisciplinary teams.

Course Description:

     The engineering health class will focus on developing innovative solutions for diagnosing, reporting, and preventing human diseases leading to cost-effective and portable tests and devices to improve human health. The convergence of medical technology, consumer wellness devices, and rapid prototyping technologies for medical devices represents an opportunity to reinvent delivery of health and wellness. Advances in fields such as wireless sensing, imaging diagnostics, lab-on-a-chip, and molecular biology will enable better choices in when, where, and how individuals receive care, thus making healthcare more convenient, affordable, and accessible. Through one-on-one small group sessions, on-site hospital visits students will learn current strategies that are being used in hospitals, laboratories and government agencies for health and wellness improvements.

     This course will also present to the students an array of diagnostic and fabrication technologies for health that include microscopy, next generation sequencing, electromagnetic  and radiofrequency sensing approaches including doppler radar, capacitive and bioimpedance, radio frequency identification, near field communication and bluetooth including wireless patches and printed diagnostics, mobile psychiatry and recent breakthroughs in infectious diseases diagnostics and imaging solutions. Instructors include leading physicians, scientists and innovators from MIT and the greater Boston area who are at the forefront of innovating healthcare. Students will have the unique opportunity of applying the course content for practical and potentially groundbreaking approaches for improving human health.  We will study the emerging multidisciplinary field at the intersection of bioengineering, rapid diagnostics, applied optics and continuous care monitoring through affordable wearable sensors. The class is offered this semester with support from the Tata Center for Technology and Design, which aims to train future leaders in engineering and business to invent technologies and systems solutions that solve human needs, in the context of complex environmental, social, and political factors. The Tata Center links MIT to India and other developing communities around the world, and focuses on innovation that is relevant to global societal needs and challenges.

      Examples of projects previously completed in this class include:

Weekly class structure: The class is organized into weekly topics.  The first half of each class presents a clinical topic, and the second half presents a related engineering topic. to mobile phone programming and mapping. Monday lectures are generally comprised of a standard engineering lecture introducing the theory, engineering principles, and technical specifications for a given technology. Wednesday class is generally comprised of a discussion of a case study on the implementation of the technology in the development context. The Friday class is a hands-on laboratory module where the students have a chance to experiment with the technology for themselves.

Semester project: Over the course of the semester, students will also work towards the completion of a class project to be presented at the end of the semester. Upon completion of the course, we encourage students to continue work on their projects through field testing, Laboratory training modules will be included early in the semester to introduce the student to the available prototyping tools and testing equipment at the Media Lab.

Course Goals:

The overall goal of Engineering Health is to provide MIT students with a basic level of knowledge and skill set to enable the development of health-related technologies, which would also be a valuable asset in pursuing a career in the field of health or biomedical engineering. Accordingly, the specific aims for this academic offering are the following:

  1. Gain an awareness of important clinical needs and emerging health technologies
  2. Gain practical knowledge on how to develop, prototype and test technologies for health applications.
  3. Learn about additional resources and support for developing a specific technology concept and deploying it in the field.

Required Text & Readings:

There is no required textbook for this class. All required articles and readings will be available for download from the MIT Stellar web site or otherwise online.

E-mail Lists and Website:

The class has a Facebook group where we will ask students to periodically post comments and updates on lecture topics and their design exercises. Formal course communication will be via Stellar.

Travel Opportunities:

This course includes an opitonal field trip to a clinic/hospital. Additionally, through the support of the TATA Center, MIT can provide various opportunities for students to test and deploy their project in the field.  Students taking Engineering Health are invited to apply for travel funding through the MIT TATA Center.  Further information is available by contacting the instructors.

Teaching Staff and Background:

Ramesh Raskar PhD ( is an Associate Professor and head of the Lab's Camera Culture research group. He is leading the global health as well as medical tricorder efforts at MIT supported by the Tata Center for Technology+Design and MIT Media Lab. Recent inventions include cameras to look around a corner, a next-generation CAT-scan machine, and low-cost eye care devices (NETRA) among many others. He is currently co-authoring a book on computational photography.

Anshuman Das PhD ( is a postdoctoral associate at the Camera Culture Lab, MIT Media Lab. He is an optical and materials physicist exploring to bring photonics, imaging, soft materials and spectroscopy to global health diagnostics.

Rich Fletcher, PhD (, N51-373D) works in the areas of wireless sensors and mobile health.  Dr. Fletcher develops instumentation to study the effect of the environment on our health and studies how mobile phones can be used to deliver therapeutic interventions as well as assessment.  With origins in Colombia (South America), Dr. Fletcher has also worked in international development projects over the past 15 years in over 12 countries, with emphasis on global health and agriculture.  As faculty at Umass Medical School, Dr. Fletcher also supports research in Psychiatry through mobile phones and wearable sensors.  Dr. Fletcher has co-founded several companies, including companies First-MileSolutions and United Villages, co-founded MIT classes NextLab and D-Lab ICT, and has served as advisor for Sana (mobile health) ( and (microbial fuel cells) KeegoTech ( Dr.Fletcher has also served as a judge for the MIT IDEAS competition.

Pratik Shah Ph.D. ( is a fellow in the Infectious Disease Initiative at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Harvard Medical School. He was part of a team that discovered a novel vaccine antigen to prevent bacterial pneumonia is currently working on treating cholera and other gastrointestinal infections by employing novel nanotechnology. Pratik is interested in tackling global health concerns and the bench-to-bedside transition of discoveries from the laboratory to markets in the developing world via novel diagnostics and therapeutics for infectious diseases of humans.

John MacDonald MD ( is a family doctor with a particular interest in health technology and innovative health services delivery in low resource settings. He is a licensed Canadian physician, having recently completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Toronto. He served as a founding member of the Toronto Health Organization Performance Evaluation (T-HOPE) research group focusing on evaluating health programs in the developing world. He is currently an MBA candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Course Grading: 

Grading criteria is broadly similar for the graduate or undergraduate credit.

For Graduate or Undergraduate credit (MAS.S65):

Class Participation and Attendance                15%

Design Exercise #1                                20%

Design Exercise #2                                25%

        Final Presentation and video                        40%                


Engineering Health II – Schedule




Clinical and Rapid Diagnostics


Design Exercise


Feb 11




Intro to resources


Feb 18


Imaging Cafe 5pm-7pm

President’s Day


Feb 25

Diagnostic Dilemmas         (MacDonald & Shah)

Mobile Health instrumentation


Create a collection of all mHealth


Mar 4



Comparison of Conventional and New approaches to detect Diabetes

Team formation


Mar 11

Nanotechnology and disease diagnostics-Part I


Mobile Tools for Lab Diagnostics


Topic pitch and feedback- I

(Shah and Fletcher)

Mar 14-16

Grand H@ckfest





Mar 18

Low cost novel              therapeutics


Design Exercise I

Design Exercise I

Lab tour


Mar 25


Spring Break


Apr 1

Vital Signs


Non-Contact Vital Sign Measurement


Entrepreneurship outlook (Shah and MacDonald)


Apr 8

Heart disease


Hamamatsu Presentation on New tech. for Health


Topic pitch and feedback-II


Apr 15

Physician Panel

(MacDonald, Majmudar, and 2 docs/nurses)

Design Exercise II

Design Exercise II


Apr 22

Health and wellness technologies (MacDonald)



Final Project Pitch (Majmudar & MacDonald)


Apr 29

The importance of Mental Health


Mobile Psychiatry


Start up resources (MacDonald and Shah)


May 6

Nanotechnology and disease diagnostics-Part 2.


Mobile tools for Environmental Monitoring


Final pitch and feedback III


May 13

Final Class



Final presentations