Covering two city blocks in downtown Birmingham, Hardware Park serves as a hub for physical product development, providing resources including tools, equipment, and workshops for tenants.
In July, the facility held the MedTech Device Experience, which was a master class for medical device prototyping. The program was an effort to plant a flag for Birmingham in the national medical device creation landscape. With Birmingham's recognized strength in medical care, the city's burgeoning tech scene, and Hardware Park’s ability to design and engineer state-of-the-art medical devices, the city is uniquely positioned to become a destination for medical device manufacturing.
Eight talented high schoolers from a mix of Birmingham metro schools participated in the two-week program. The students attended intensive morning and afternoon sessions, gaining hands-on experience in medical device design and prototyping. By the end of the course, each student team had created a medical device prototype.
The high schoolers came up with some great ideas. For example, after a lady spoke to the class about her son, who was on an IV that made their home feel like a hospital, one of the boys created an IV stand that looks like a tree. One group designed a wristband asthma inhaler that can be used by runners and anyone who is engaged in sports or physical activity.
Lloyd Cooper, the owner of Push Product Design, and Mark Conner, Executive Director at Hardware Park and former Director of Engineering at Hoover High School, spearheaded the experience.
As a design leader, Cooper has been involved in crafting a number of medical devices, including working with Dr. Robert Foster to develop the Rampart, a radiation shielding device. Conner crafted a four-year engineering curriculum for The Engineering Academy at Hoover High.
Uphill Design has created a documentary of the MedTech Design Experience, which will premiere at Hardware Park November 7th.