First-Year Student Design Teams Solve Real-World Problems

Making a difference »

First-Year Student Design Teams Solve Real-World Problems

Featured Projects

Through Duke University’s new First-Year Design (FYD) program, students gain early experience as they work in multi-disciplinary teams to design and build prototype solutions to solve real-world, client-based problems.

Project Team

Breathe Easy

A hand-held inhaler that helps the elderly to self administer medicine

Project Team

Turn Taker

A “lock-out” buzzer for a specific, adjusted, individual amount of time to support learning for students with ASD

Team Blamo


A cheap, noninvasive design that can work with current heating systems to distribute cool air

Recent News

Team members: Meena Gudapati, Anish Karpurapu, Ashley Myers, attend RESNA Rehab Week Conference

September 19, 2019

SipClip receives exclusive invite to RESNA

A team's electric toothbrush attachment designed to assist those with ALS gains national attention!

Book Cradle Team members hold prototype in front of poster.

September 4, 2019

'I Can Do This'—Duke’s First-Year Design Course Boosts Student Self-Efficacy

Student surveys also show improved teamwork, communication and leadership skills.

May 22, 2019

Engineering first-years build Mast

Duke Forest provides an update on Duke Student Activity, including how one FYD team took on the challenge of collecting and sorting mast (the fruit of forest trees and shrubs... like, acorns and nuts!).

Inspiring Engineers

Duke Engineering offers students a progressive immersion in engineering design, from the first-year overview to capstone design projects in their chosen disciplines.

Be part of the excitement

You have the opportunity to support bright students and to benefit from their ideas!

Students in the POD

Project Idea

When you see a need or problem, submit the idea as a project.

Professor Gavin with student

Provide Support

Share you knowledge as an expert in the engineering field as a team mentor

Tools in the POD

Pay It Forward

Support components of the First Year Design program to ensure student success

Explore our impact Map

Click the pins to see First-Year Design clients and projects by location